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Why Do People Experience Anxiety About the Environment?

woman struggles with anxiety about the environment

People with eco-anxiety are those who experience worry, guilt, pessimism, panic, and overwhelming anxiety in regards to the state of the planet. They can be thinking about what could happen if hit with extreme weather, increasing water usage, researching online the effects of global warming, the shift in temperatures and weather patterns, etc. By learning about what you can and cannot control, people with eco-anxiety will be able to view the planet without increasing panic.

Who is Likely To Experience Eco-Anxiety?

Typically, millennials who are very active on social media, pop culture, and who watch the news spend their time constantly checking in on environmental news. By keeping up with the popular opinions of others on climate change and natural disasters, this could send your nerves on edge.

What Is It Like to Have Eco-Anxiety?

Having eco-anxiety can be like seeing a video of a dolphin seriously injured after fishing equipment gets thrown into the ocean or of littered straws getting stuck in a whale’s blowhole. It can make you see the harsh realities of nature in how humans tend not to have respect for the ocean. This can mean experiencing anxiety symptoms like nightmares of what we have seen or feeling guilt for the amount of water you use taking a shower or having plastic items in the house. You may feel like it is up to you to be able to control how nature works and that others do the same thing to protect the environment. 

How Can Eco-Anxiety Be Treated?

It is best for those with eco-anxiety to gain control by doing whatever they can in their home instead of worrying about the world as a whole. This can mean that if you are worried about plastic polluting the ocean, buy items in your house that do not have plastic whether it is cups, toothbrushes, straws, etc. You can even join an environmental club in your area so that you can help save the planet as a team instead of thinking that it is all up to you. Other coping techniques can be that if you experience any triggers having to do with the dangers of the environment, try doing breathing exercises and focusing more on the present instead of what you may think will be the inevitable future of the planet. By controlling only what is in your power to control, those with eco-anxiety should not feel anxious or guilty about anything.

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