Eco-Anxiety – Carrying the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders

Written by on October 13, 2020 in Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

By Holly Schaeffer

Modern living, no matter how advanced and luxurious it can be, is an incredible inducer of stress. The speed of life, the technology, the demands of lifestyle, and work all come together to make anxiety and depression the mental health issue of our time.

But what if you’re stressed about something else? What if it’s the fate of the planet that is pressing down on you?

What Is Eco-Anxiety?

Humans like to solve problems, but when the problem they are trying to solve cannot be fixed immediately, or probably in our own lifetime, anxiety tends to come knocking.

Eco-anxiety is associated with a sense of doom in the face of climate change and global warming. It is sparked by our fears for the future of the planet, humanity as a whole, and our own children in particular.

How Does Eco-Anxiety Affect Our Health?

Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to depression and PTSD. And since stress is a major contributor to chronic inflammation and a weakened immune system, chronic stress also puts us at increased risk of certain diseases.

Eco-anxiety also negatively impacts our sleep, leading to yet more potential health challenges and a general drop in mood.

Things to do to Ease Your Eco-Anxiety

If left untreated for too long, the anxiety of any kind will have an adverse impact on your health and your daily life. So, your best option is always to provide some relief and seek help to cope with anxious thoughts and feelings. 

Here are some things you can do to ease the weight:

Take a Break

Sometimes, we all need to unplug from the world and just be for a while.

How you want to be in these moments is entirely up to you. You can spend time in nature, focusing on the present and feeling grateful for the natural wonders that are available to us today; you might want to spend a day binging on the latest Netflix shows; you can spend a day reading or even just sleeping. Whatever helps you reset for the time being.

Know That You Are Not Alone

Sometimes, it may feel like you are doing battle all on your own, and the loneliness and hopelessness can make your anxiety worse.

Realize you are not the only one fighting for the causes you believe in, even if it feels like that sometimes.

Find a group of likeminded individuals – the internet offers plenty of opportunities to connect – or start campaigning and holding meetings and get-togethers in your own community. Sharing some of the weight will help.

Choose Your Battles

We can never change the entire world all at once, especially in light of all the threats our planet and climate are facing.

Instead of focusing on the magnitude of the issue and letting it overwhelm you, choose one that you are most passionate about, and advocate and fight for that.

You may end up losing a whole lot of energy on all kinds of causes without achieving palpable results, but if you choose to focus all of your energies on one goal, you’d be surprised how much headway you can make.

Educate Yourself Even More

Another great thing about the internet is that it allows you to access resources you could only have dreamed of decades ago.

Don’t just read up on the latest research and development about your chosen cause – listen to podcasts and read interviews with eco-warriors like yourself, and get inspired by their stories. You will likely get all kinds of wonderful ideas just by listening to someone else speak about their own passion and efforts.

Put Your Own Mask on First

Remember that in order to help someone else, you first need to help yourself. Only then can you hope to actually inspire change.

Don’t allow your own mental or physical health to suffer – work on feeling the best you can possibly feel, as this will keep you energized and focused, and your contribution will be much greater.

Final Thoughts

Eco-anxiety is very real, and it can be very difficult to deal with, especially if you feel misunderstood or like no one is listening to you. Try to apply some of the practices we’ve listed above, and hopefully, the weight of the planet will start to lift.

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Author Bio:

Holly Schaeffer is a long-time writer focusing on health, lifestyle, and home improvement. Originally from Georgia, she moved to California to pursue a degree in environmental studies.

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