Climate anxiety, eco-anxiety, climate grief. Whatever you call it, it’s affecting a lot of us. In the US, 66% of people reported being worried about climate change and 46% of people reported feeling afraid, according to a 2019 Yale Program Climate Change Communication report.
“Being ecologically conscious is like living in a world of wounds.”
– Aldo Leopold/Paraphrased by Margaret Klein Salamon
As someone who’s both worried and afraid, I can’t imagine not feeling all the emotions and stress around what’s happening with our planet. That being said, I feel I’m in a much better place on this topic compared to even just six months ago. How did I get to this better place with my climate-related stress? One, realizing I’m not alone — the more people talk about climate anxiety, the more I realize it’s valid for me to feel the way I do and the more I can be open about my feelings.
Two, taking action. Doing something, especially volunteering with other climate advocates and organizations, makes me feel we’re moving forward together and creating meaningful change.
Three, getting the help I need, both to process the emotions that come with the existential crisis that is climate change and so I can continue to take meaningful action. There are many activities we can do on own to help with climate anxiety, like journaling, meditation, and yoga. There are many ways to get professional help, like therapy and climate grief groups. Many of us, myself included, need a combination of techniques.
Here are some resources to help with climate anxiety:
Good Grief Network
Resources and programs to build personal resilience and also combat eco-anxiety.
What is Climate Grief | Climate & Mind
Many resources from Climate & Mind on climate and mental health.
What is Climate Anxiety and What Can We Do About It | The Climate Reality Project
Is Climate Grief Something New? | American Psychological Association
What is Eco-Anxiety | REI Co-Op Journal
Climate Anxiety Counseling
Climate counseling booth at events in Providence.
How to Find a Therapist | The Washington Post
Note: This is a great article on how to decide if you need therapy and how to find a therapist, including advice on how to ask for a free consultation to see if the therapist is a good fit for you. This is a great idea when looking into a professional to help with climate grief, because you have a chance to see if the therapist has an understanding of the climate crisis. I’ve worked with a few different therapists and haven’t felt like I’ve gotten the support I needed on the climate front. When your therapist is preparing for her third cruise of the year and you’re talking about reducing carbon emissions, it’s hard to feel like you’re on the same page.
How to Stop Freaking Out and Tackle Climate Change | The New York Times Opinion
Your Climate Anxiety is Another Person’s Existential Crisis | The New Republic
A Prayer for Climate Grief | Christian Climate Action
Climate Activist Toolkit | Lane Community College Library
How I Learned to Cope with Climate Grief | BikePortland.org
Befriending Eco-Anxiety | Resilience
How to Cope with Eco Anxiety | Friends of the Earth UK
Feeling Distressed About Climate Change? Here’s How to Manage It | Los Angeles Times