Climate change, which threatens the future of our planet, is more visible than ever, and in this dire reality, more and more people are experiencing environmental anxiety. Also known as climate change anxiety or environmental anxiety, this phenomenon can cause debilitating stress and anxiety, as well as severe psychological symptoms such as overwhelming anger, fear, and/or feelings of helplessness. What is anxiety, what are its causes and symptoms, and what can be done to avoid anxiety?
How is echo anxiety defined?
Although a new term, ecological anxiety has already entered the charts of psychologists around the world and, of course, the everyday lives of some people.
Natural disasters that have become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, such as the fires that devastated southern Turkey and Australia, and Hurricane Idai that wiped Mozambique’s fourth largest city (Beira) off the map, are is causing Experiencing ecological anxiety without knowing what is happening. it happened.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes that the impact of climate change on mental health is a major source of stress for individuals and communities, and has officially defined environmental anxiety as “chronic fear of environmental hazards.” is defined in
The definition of environmental anxiety generally describes people who tend to experience overwhelming worry or fear, either permanent or temporary, caused by climate change, global ecological disasters, or specific climatic events. I’m here.
Although not a clinical diagnosis or disorder, environmental anxiety shows that the fear that our survival might be in jeopardy has a profound effect on the psyche. It will be scary.
What causes eco-anxiety?
Environmental anxiety is not yet accepted as a disease, but it has been observed that the increased anxiety associated with the climate crisis we are experiencing causes psychological disorders.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental hazards and anxiety about the future of individuals and future generations arising from observing the seemingly irreversible effects of climate change.” . This is why the APA believes that internalizing major environmental issues affecting the planet can have profound psychological effects on some people.
In short, what causes eco-anxiety is actually all the alarm bells that nature is ringing.
- Frequent abnormal weather (heat wave/fire, typhoon, earthquake/tsunami, etc.)
- Increased Pollution and Health Impacts
- Garbage and waste polluting the sea
- water shortage
- abuse of natural resources
- sea level rise
It is thought that the more environmental problems such as these increase, the more people will feel environmental anxiety.
Who is more prone?
Environmental anxiety does not affect everyone equally. In fact, it can be said that there are many people who are highly conscious of environmental protection.
There are some groups that are more affected by anxiety caused by climate change. Older adults, children and especially pregnant or postpartum women are more likely to experience environmental anxiety symptoms. populations such as minorities, immigrants and refugees are more likely to develop psychiatric and psychological symptoms due to inequalities in access to infrastructure, social and economic mobility, and health care resources. I’m here.
eco anxiety symptoms
- mild anxiety attacks,
- Sleeping disorder,
seen in the form. In more severe cases, environmental anxiety can even cause feelings of suffocation and depression.
How can I overcome this?
As with other anxiety-related disorders, the effects of environmental anxiety can be minimized. To alleviate guilt, it can be comforting to do our part to care for the planet by promoting sustainable lifestyles for ourselves and others.
There are a few simple things you can try to reduce the effects of environmental anxiety.
- Accept that difficult emotions are normal
The emotional turmoil associated with climate change and its transformation into psychological symptoms may seem minor compared to the concrete problems facing many people around the world today. Hmm. But environmental concerns, like many other issues affecting people around the world, are real and serious. Dealing with environmental anxiety is very difficult. So don’t worry if you’re struggling.
It’s useless to be aggressive with yourself out of anxiety. In this process, the person needs to be as supportive, kind and encouraging as possible to themselves. Raise awareness about climate change, both yourself and those around you.
Worrying about climate change or the future of humanity doesn’t mean you have to panic all the time until the world recovers. Instead of succumbing to fear, we must learn to take action whenever possible.
You can create a small garden in your home or neighborhood and participate in sustainable activities such as collecting plastic. You can participate in any environmental activity that reduces anxiety.
If you acknowledge the insecurities you feel and move toward sustainable living, you are grateful for both your own health and the health of the planet.
- connect with others
By collecting trash or participating in waste reduction initiatives, you can help reduce environmental concerns. However, collaborating with others who also want to protect the environment can increase your sense of connectedness and can also reduce the feeling of struggling alone. ; Helps increase resilience, optimism and hope.