What is climate anxiety?
Climate, or eco-anxiety, is when someone’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior is affected by worries related to climate change. As a clinician, I notice increasingly more young adults and teenagers talking about anxiety related to climate change. It is becoming more common to hear and read about climate change and its impact on our life, both currently and in the future. This has led people to question where they live, what products they use, and if they want to start a family.
According to a 2019 survey, the majority of adults report having some climate anxiety and almost half of those 18-34 years old say climate anxiety affects their daily lives. Though it can feel overwhelming to think about, there are ways to cope with climate anxiety and engage in meaningful action.
Coping strategies for climate anxiety
Here are some recommendations from the American Psychological Association:
- Building resilience
- Learn coping strategies to self-regulate, promote optimism/perspective taking, learn to adapt, and problem solve in the face of adversity
- Foster a sense of community, social, and familial support
- Maintain connection to one’s culture
- This is of particular importance in newer immigrant or refugee communities
- Finding a source of personal meaning
- Mindfulness practice to increase wellbeing. Examples include meditation, yoga, and connecting with nature
- Joining a spiritual or religious community
- Increase personal preparedness
- Have an emergency plan with your household
- Create an emergency kit that includes food, water, supplies, medication, and comfort items
- Support solutions to reduce and prevent further climate change
- Use of clean energy
The clinicians at Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry are here to help you with navigating climate anxiety as well as other mental health needs. Our clinicians can help teach you effective coping strategies to help build resilience and increase your ability to deal with life stressors. Please call (847)440-2281 if you would like to schedule with one of our clinicians.
Coping with Climate Anxiety
Amanda Enger, LCPC
The Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry
Photo by Elsa Tonkinwise on Unsplash