“Fighting to improve the state of the planet drained me of energy, left me with no desire to do anything, and depressed my relationships with my partners, friends, and family. I lived in a dystopia not worth fighting for. Now my psychologist will help me define those red lines in my mind so they don’t become painful. An engineer who uses satellites to detect marine oil spills.His concerns about the climate crisis have discouraged him to the point that it affects his daily life.Now he asks for help to get better. I’m here.
Global warming has been affecting people’s mental health and causing eco-anxiety for years. Environmental anxiety primarily afflicts those on the front lines of the fight against climate change: scientists, activists, environmental educators, but also children. They are sensitive to messages warning of the harsh reality that governments are not doing enough to stem rising temperatures and the damage is becoming more and more obvious.
Suffering from mental health issues is no longer taboo. Today, more and more people turn to psychologists to help them overcome the distress caused by data on global warming, and environmental anxiety disorder (also known as solastargia) is treated like any other illness. . “For me it is a shadow, a constant worry. , the issue is not being discussed openly, but I feel there is more negative perspective, and it is becoming more cynical as a coping mechanism,” said a data-gathering, anonymous Says an expert who wishes to “Every 0.1 degree rise means millions of people suffer and species go extinct,” she explains.
Pandemics, war in Ukraine, and inflation are contributing factors to anxiety. Adjustment disorders that cause insomnia, irritability, eating disorders, muscle tension, periodic thoughts, difficulty breathing, and panic attacks. “Anxiety has multiplied. We are trying to have our patients learn to live with it, to minimize the impact on the environment,” says an emergency at the University of Catalunya in Spain, which has been treating patients with environmental anxiety. Anna Romeu, president of the Department of Psychology, says.
“All my family land was covered in water. After losing four cousins in the recent floods, I don’t suffer from environmental anxiety (reasonable fear), but I do suffer from post-traumatic anxiety. Suffering from stress That’s the kind of suffering we’re talking about Where should we go
What if the planet is no longer a safe place? When climate change knocks at your door, there’s no denying it’s happening. said in a telephone call at the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
In Spain, therapists are available 24/7 to look after Greenpeace employees. Employees are bombarded with bad news all the time, but it takes a lot of energy to launch a campaign to force governments and multinationals to change course. Over the past three years, 1,000 activists have attended 30 workshops to empower themselves and receive emotion management guidelines and tips. Diagnosis is common. A never-ending work overload, a frightening level of self-demand, and a self-imposed feeling that you are doing hard work to accomplish. “This mission is so monumental it has become part of the problem. They are people who have little respite and at the same time have a very fantastic struggle,” says Pablo, an environmentalist who specializes in emotion management and the director of these workshops. Chamorro explains.
Most of these activists are young, and before results and government responses are not readily available, they usually experience frustration and even guilt for not doing enough, leading to international inaction. The key to keeping your head above water in the face of so much darkness is sharing your feelings with colleagues and connecting with deeper emotions through introspection and meditation. This helps you see the big picture and understand that each individual action is sufficient and worthwhile. “Young people are always sprinting, but this is a marathon. We can’t do it all. The obsession with the goal makes you forget who’s behind the goal,” he says of Chamorro. explains. Clinical psychologist Juan Cruz suggests taking conscious walks in nature to enter a balanced environment and “focusing on the here and now”, as well as selective distribution of news. I’m here.
The United Nations has been warning for some time about how the climate crisis will affect global health from fossil fuels, but the impact on mental health still needs to be assessed further.A year ago, The Lancet magazine A survey of 10,000 young people in 10 countries found that 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change are having a negative impact on their daily lives and functioning. 83% believe people have neglected to care for the planet.
how about the kids?
Nuria Casanovas, a child psychologist from Girona, Spain, spent a year treating 12 children suffering from environmental anxiety. Minors receive a lot of information to recycle and
Caring for the environment is necessary, but we don’t have the resources to manage the anxiety and helplessness caused by the fact that their actions can’t stop global warming, she explains. After a few sessions, thanks to neuroplasticity, frustration diminishes and they stick to the solutions they are given. , are also affected by comments that we don’t seem to hear: we must teach them that the world is like that, but experience it without impotence, breathing and feeling management skills to help them develop self-control and develop emotional intelligence as quickly as possible. The goal is to have a positive outlook and be emotionally protected from future anxiety. “The sooner this is encouraged, the sooner it becomes part of their character,” explains Casanovas, vice-president of the Social Intervention Committee at the Catalan University of Psychology.
Last summer, Katya Pirozhenko, a 25-year-old Russian international aid activist living in Valencia, Spain, found herself among 28 young people who joined the 1Planet4All project and shared their feelings about the state of the planet. After that, I changed my mind. : “They attack us as Generation Z, but we are young people who grew up in fear of the coming climate catastrophe. We have concerns about the future. We need to start a dialogue between generations so that children don’t feel misunderstood by prejudiced grandparents and to avoid falling out within families,” she said. I warn you.
Lucero concludes with hopeful words. We also care about the world we leave behind for generations to come. Because I am part of the solution and I have the energy to fight for climate justice.