The climate crisis and potential ecological breakdown that humanity now faces appears to be taking its toll on a growing number of people around the world, with psychologists warning that the impact of climate change on mental health can be particularly debilitating.
Speaking to The Guardian, Clinical Psychologist Dr Patrick Kennedy-Williams explained that a few years ago he was contacted by an increasing number of climate scientists and researchers; people who face an onslaught of negative information in their day-to-day working lives.
“The more they engaged with the issue, the more they realised what needed to be done - and the more they felt that was bigger than their capacity to enact meaningful change. The consequences of this can be pretty dire - anxiety, burnout and a sort of professional paralysis”, he went on to say.
Dr Kennedy-Williams started researching the climate crisis and found that it was not just those in the scientific community who were suffering but found concerning levels of stress and anxiety related to the environment present amongst young children.
He made mention of his own six-year-old daughter who came to him with the question: “Daddy, are we winning the war against climate change?”
If this all sounds too familiar and you are experiencing the feelings of climate anxiety, there are things you can do to help yourself and the planet at the same time.
Making lifestyle changes that align with your values, however small they may be, can make a real difference, e.g perhaps walk instead of using the car and be more aware of carbon footprints associated with international travel when it comes to holidays and where your food comes from. There are many ways to empower yourself and help support the changes our planet needs to survive without becoming anxious.
Another way to address the issue of eco-anxiety is to find like-minded friends who you can chat to about climate change and how you’re feeling. This can help make you feel far less alone in the face of something as overwhelming as the climate crisis. Remember, if you are really struggling seeing a professional can help you manage and overcome your anxiety.
Worries and fears that are constant and overwhelming can threaten to take over your entire life interfering with job performance, close relationships, school or university work and so on… but you can learn to manage your feelings effectively and get back to living a fulfilling life if you seek a little help.
Look into mindfulness-based therapies and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, both are evidence-based approaches to help manage and overcome stress and anxiety disorders including phobias, panic attacks and social or performance anxiety.
Looking for an anxiety therapist in Wimbledon? Get in touch with us today.