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Eco-Anxiety: What Is It And How To Deal With It

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Given the worsening climatic conditions and raising awareness about the same, many people are anxious about what the future holds. With trees being cut down at a high rate, peoples’ hopes about a future with cleaner air is falling too. Climate strikes, awareness campaigns, and various drives are resorts to bring into focus the degrading environmental conditions. In such a scenario, eco-anxiety, fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster has been reported by many.

Although it is not a medically diagnosable condition since it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) describes it as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” So, apart from affecting peoples’ physical health, environmental degradation takes a toll on their mental well-being as well. The APA lists trauma, PTSD, aggression, stress, substance abuse, and depression as some of the manifestations of the effect of changing climatic conditions on mental health. These can further lead to some chronic health issues like heart problems and high blood pressure in the long run.

Read Also: The World Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg At World Economic Forum

Mental health professionals recommend grounding techniques for anxiety management. These let patients use their five senses or tangible objects to battle feelings that are abstract.

Here are a few ways to deal with eco-anxiety:

Taking action

Of late, global climate strikes are being observed in the wake of the downgraded environment. Being a part of these can help people overcome the feeling of helplessness they often go through. Participating in plantation and cleanliness drives can also be beneficial. By working for what they feel is going wrong, one may feel empowered and content.

Raising awareness

By spreading the word and encouraging more people to think in favour of the environment, people may feel like they have brought about change. This would assist them psychologically by allowing them to get over the anxiety they are facing. Moreover, this would make them indulge in learning more about climate changes going on around the world.

Developing a connection with nature

Living in the vicinity of greenery will help build a connection with natural surroundings. Mental health professionals recommend grounding techniques for anxiety management. These let patients use their five senses or tangible objects to battle feelings that are abstract. Similarly, objects like rocks, dried flowers, and pine cones symbolise nature and thus help to foster a strong connection with it. Just going out for a walk or sitting in a park may also help someone overwhelmed by the environmental conditions.

Optimism

Although this seems like a vague solution, staying optimistic about the future will reduce the tension associated with it. Hopeful thinking will assist in getting rid of the negative thoughts that might be eating someone up from the inside. All we can do is work on an individual level and motivate others to do the same. We can still save the planet if we join hands and walk together for the future.

By spreading the word and encouraging more people to think in favour of the environment, people may feel like they have brought about change. This would assist them psychologically by allowing them to get over the anxiety they are facing.

Seeking medical help

People are often hesitant to approach a therapist majorly because of the stigma society associates with it. Yet if environmental problems are unmanageable, never shy away from seeing a doctor. Only a healthy mind can ensure a healthy body and only a healthy body can contribute towards saving Mother Earth.

Read Also: Greta Thunberg Is Not A Freak, She’s A Youth Phenomenon Of Our Times

Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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