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Climate Anxiety Is Sweeping the Planet—Here’s How To Manage It

Climate change is best understood as a shift in temperatures and weather patterns that results in long-term consequences for the Earth as well as the mental health of its inhabitants. Climate anxiety is sweeping the planet. Humans are living proof of climate anxiety in a period of uncertainty around the future of the planet and how we might continue our existence. “Direct impacts are already happening. For example, the prevalence in widespread wildfires, where the EPA indicates an increased wildfire season length, as well as in frequency and area burned, Even those not yet directly exposed to harm from the climate crisis may feel the physical impacts, just by seeing data and using it to create scenarios in their minds to heighten stress levels and anxieties around it, and to dysregulate the nervous system. “Dysregulation can show up as muscle tension, digestive changes, racing thoughts, mood swings, fight/flight/freeze responses, and much more,” says Glenn.

And when this is experienced chronically, the fear and worry can be attributed to “climate anxiety,” which unfortunately can worsen and grow more cumbersome as the climate crisis worsens.

“Climate change anxiety is an experience of overwhelming related to all that surrounds negative environmental shifts on our planet, with humans being a part of nature and thus closely tied to the environment”. Both data and the shifts we see and can sense tend to play a part in creating and prolonging anxiety around climate change and the future.

Climate anxiety symptoms include somatic signs, such as muscle tension, digestive changes and changes in sleeping patterns, psychological signs, such as racing thoughts, rumination and difficty focusing, and lastly, relational signs, such as shifts in choices around having or not having children due to the state and prospective state of the planet.

And while some anxieties may lead to extreme or irrational thoughts, the root of the cause and issue about

climate anxiety, how to help climate change and its effects on the planet and our lifestyles, is pretty valid and rational in reasoning and thought. And so, unless there’s more insight regarding what climate change is and how to help climate change from destroying the planet and impacting our future, climate change anxiety and mental distress can take effect and be hard to mitigate without such answers.

How To Manage

The best way to manage climate change anxiety is first by recognizing the anxiety and addressing it, as an issue, as well as being proactive in thinking of any ways to help climate change that might be practical.

You’re not wrong to have fears about it, and so that’s important to take note of before developing a field guide to climate anxiety and implementing practices to ease anxiety and feel more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Anxiety is an uncomfortable experience that can be tempting to push away, and we often think that ignoring anxiety will cause it to go away; however, what we ignore tends to grow larger,” says Glenn. So, acknowledging climate change anxiety and its presence, it allows us to identify underlying feelings and practice nervous system regulation to better manage symptoms and ease any fear or tension.

After acknowledging climate change anxiety for what it is and why it’s an issue, allow for grief to manifest and be experienced as part of the healing process. One of the most common emotions underlying climate change anxiety is grief. “We are grieving our planet, the futures we thought we would have, and all that has already been lost to climate change,” “If we only show up for anxiety itself, we are putting a band-aid on the root causes, so it’s important to let ourselves cry, to let ourselves be angry or scared, and yes, to let ourselves grieve,


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