What Is The Best Way To Deal With Climate Anxiety?
The reality of climate change becomes harder to ignore every year, with weather events that were once extreme now occurring with frightening regularity. It can be easy to feel angry, anxious, and overwhelmed in the face of the slow pace of official action and the continuing harm done to our environment on a daily basis.
It is an issue that affects everyone of course, but research shows that younger generations who have their whole lives ahead of them are particularly concerned about the environment.
For example, a study of 10,000 young people from 10 countries who were aged 16-25 years was published in The Lancet in 2021. It found that 59% of respondents were very or extremely worried about climate change, while 45% said that their negative thoughts about climate change affected their daily lives and ability to function.
These are alarming statistics, and there is good reason to be concerned about the future of the planet. It is important to feel the anxiety and fear, however uncomfortable that may be, because this is the mind’s way of telling us that something is wrong. However, never getting past this stage is unhelpful and can affect quality of life.
The key is to learn how to gain a more useful perspective on our concerns, and even turn it into positive action. At times we can feel disempowered, but there are small steps that we can all take to make a difference. For example, making the effort to source some of your clothes and furniture second hand cuts down on wasted resources and carbon emissions.
It can be easy to become dragged down into a spiral of doom when browsing through news websites or social media feeds. If you find that this is happening to you on a daily basis, try to be more selective about what you read. Climate change is a huge topic, and not all the information on the internet is scientifically verified.
Avoid reading the comment sections on websites as there will inevitably be an unproductive clash of opinions and unsupported claims at some stage. Delve into the credentials of the authors of any pieces you do read, and find out what their background is, and what qualifies them to comment on the issue.
The fact that it is difficult to look at a newspaper or website today without finding an article about climate change is also a positive sign, as the issue is now firmly on the agenda of governments and businesses worldwide and at the forefront of public consciousness. This represents progress from even just a few years ago, and will increase the pace of action.
Whatever the future holds, approaching it with some degree of calm and hopefulness of spirit can help us to make the biggest impact. To achieve this state of mind in the face of our challenges, it may be helpful to learn some mindful meditation techniques, which can teach us to be in the present moment, rather than worry about the past or future.
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