Climate change threatens the future of the world by showing itself more than ever, and under this grave reality, an increasing number of people are experiencing eco-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 ecological anxiety, what are its causes and symptoms, what can we do to avoid anxiety?
How Is Echo Anxiety Defined?
Although a new term, ecological anxiety is already making its way into the charts of psychologists around the world and, of course, in the daily lives of some people.
Natural disasters that have become more frequent and more severe as a result of climate change, such as the fires that devastated southern Turkey and Australia, or Hurricane Idai, which wiped out Mozambique's fourth largest city (Beira), from the map, cause many people to experience ecological anxiety without knowing what is happening. it happened.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes that the effects of climate change on mental health are a major source of stress for individuals and communities, and officially defines eco-anxiety as "a chronic fear of environmental disaster."
The definition of eco-anxiety generally describes people who tend to experience overwhelming worry or fear, either permanently or temporarily, triggered by climate change, global ecological disasters, or certain climate events.
While not a clinical diagnosis or a disorder, eco-anxiety demonstrates that the fear that our survival may be at risk has a significant impact on the psyche. This makes it an existential fear that puts a heavy burden on the mind.
What Causes Eco Anxiety?
Although eco-anxiety is not yet accepted as a disease, it is observed that the increasing anxiety with the climate crises we are experiencing causes psychological disorders.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental disaster resulting from observing the seemingly irreversible impact of climate change and associated anxiety for the future of the individual and future generations”. This is why the APA thinks that internalizing major environmental issues affecting our planet can have serious psychological consequences for some people.
In short, the things that cause eco-anxiety, in fact, are all the alarm bells that nature is ringing:
- The proliferation of abnormal weather events (heat waves and fires, typhoons, earthquakes and tidal waves, etc.)
- Increasing pollution and its impact on health
- Garbage and waste polluting the oceans
- Water scarcity
- overuse of natural resources
- rising sea levels
It is thought that the number of people experiencing eco-anxiety will increase as the number of ecological problems such as
Who Is More Predisposed?
Eco-anxiety does not affect everyone equally. In fact, it can be said that it is more common among people who are more conscious about environmental protection.
There are some groups that are more affected by the anxiety created by climate change. The elderly, children, and especially women who are pregnant or in the postpartum period are more likely to experience eco-anxiety symptoms. In addition, populations such as many minorities, immigrants and refugees are thought to be more likely to develop psychiatric and psychological symptoms due to inequalities in infrastructure, social and economic mobility, and access to health resources.
- mild anxiety attacks,
- Sleeping disorders,
can be seen in the form. In more severe cases, eco-anxiety can cause feelings of suffocation and even depression.
How can it be overcome?
It is possible to minimize the effects of eco-anxiety, as with other anxiety-related disorders. It can be comforting to do our part to care for the planet by promoting a sustainable lifestyle for ourselves and others to reduce feelings of guilt.
There are a few simple things you can try to alleviate the effects of eco-anxiety:
- Accept That Difficult Emotions Are Normal
Experiencing the emotional turmoil associated with climate change and its transformation into a psychological symptom may seem less serious compared to the concrete problems many people around the world are currently facing. But eco-anxiety, like many other problems that affect people around the world, is real and serious. Dealing with eco-anxiety is quite difficult; so don't feel bad if you're having a hard time.
Being aggressive towards yourself because of the anxiety you feel is useless. In this process, the person needs to be as supportive, kind and encouraging towards himself as possible. Do not forget that it is a human emotion to feel anxiety about the ecological troubles of the world, and know your enemy. Increase the awareness of both yourself and those around you about climate change.
- Turn Anxiety into Action
Just because you're worried about climate change and the future of humanity doesn't mean you have to be in a constant state of panic until the rest of the world recovers. You must learn not to succumb to your fear, but to take action wherever possible.
You can set up a small garden in your home or neighborhood, and engage in sustainable activities such as collecting plastic; You can participate in any environmental action that will restrain your anxiety.
If you acknowledge the anxiety you feel and move towards a sustainable life, both your personal health and the health of the planet will thank you.
- Connect with Other People
Collecting garbage or participating in waste reduction efforts can rein in ecological concern. But working with others who also want to protect the environment can also increase your sense of connection and reduce the feeling of struggling alone. emotional and social support; It can help you increase your resilience, optimism, and hope.
Günceleme: 14/01/2023 13:02