A forest fire in northern California and a mile-long glacier breaking apart appear in your news feed. The stark reminders of climate change are constant and may cause additional stress to your daily tasks. For example, in surveying your shopping cart filled with wipes, sandwich bags, and packets of baby food, you may question your choices, knowing that the plastic in those items will never break down completely.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, more than two-thirds of Americans experience some climate anxiety.Jone Mark
What is climate anxiety?
In addition to existential worries and fears about the future, climate change can affect mental health directly (such as through natural disasters or heat) and indirectly (through displacement, migration, and food insecurity). Rising temperatures have been associated with increases in emergency department visits for psychiatric reasons, and may impair cognitive development in children and adolescents.
Protect yourself from the damage of chronic inflammation.
As uncertainty and a loss of control characterize climate anxiety, the best treatment is to take action. On an individual level, it’s therapeutic to share your worries and fears with trusted friends, a therapist, or by joining a support group. You can also make changes to your lifestyle consistent with your values.
This may include deciding to take fewer flights, joining a protest, or increasing public awareness about climate change through advocacy. Joining an organization like The Good Grief Network can help you process feelings related to climate anxiety and connect with others to take meaningful action.