Psychology

What is Eco Anxiety? The psychological state caused by the climate crisis

The psychological impact of climate change on some people is known as eco-anxiety, also known as climate anxiety. Although it is not yet a diagnosable condition.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 23, 2022 2:06 PM IST

The psychological impact of climate change on some people is known as eco-anxiety.  (Photo courtesy: AP)

The psychological impact of climate change on some people is known as eco-anxiety. (Photo courtesy: AP)

By Daphne Clarance: Climate change has been a serious concern for many years. In addition to creating an environmental impact that threatens the future of the Earth, it has also affected humans psychologically.

At a time when activists push for influential programs carried out by world leaders, the overwhelming connection of climate change to our emotions has become apparent. This phenomenon of fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster is called eco-anxiety.

WHAT IS ECO-FEAR?

The psychological impact of climate change on some people is known as eco-anxiety, also known as climate anxiety. Although not considered a disease, there is an increased concern for people with mental disorders.

According to the American Psychology Association (APA), “The chronic fear of environmental catastrophe that comes from observing the seemingly irreversible impact of climate change and the attendant concern for one’s future and that of subsequent generations is termed eco-anxiety.”

Anxiety around environmental issues can sometimes stem from an awareness of increasing risk of extreme weather events, loss of livelihoods or housing, fear for future generations and feelings of helplessness, according to Medical News Today.

Concerns about environmental issues can sometimes stem from an awareness of an increasing risk of extreme weather events. (Photo courtesy: AP)

IS ECO-FEAR A MENTAL ILLNESS?

Eco-anxiety is not currently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This means that doctors do not officially consider it a diagnosable condition.

However, mental health experts consider it rational and use this term within ecopsychology, a brand concerned with people’s psychological relationships with the rest of nature and how this affects their identity, well-being and health.

A study published in Lancet Planetary Health, led by academics and professionals from the University of Bath, Stanford Medicine Center for Innovation in Global Health, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and others, found that people from countries more directly and directly impacted by climate change are tend to worry more about their future. The survey was conducted among 10,000 young people aged 16-25 years in 10 countries.

Ninety-two percent of young people in the Philippines said they found the future frightening, compared to only 56 percent in Finland, and 75 percent said they found the future frightening.

Ninety-two percent of young people in the Philippines said they felt the future was frightening, a study found. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

HOW TO DEAL WITH ECO-FEAR?

Some studies have found that walking in nature (without technology) can be beneficial for people with eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. Hobbies such as gardening, planting trees, and other similar activities can foster a sense of connection with the natural world. Meditating in nature can also be helpful.

Sacha Wright, a research and curriculum coordinator at Force of Nature told the Natural History Museum, said you should always share their concerns and not internalize the fear.

“I often worry that if I bring up my eco-anxiety to my peers I’ll be the ‘downer’, but sharing your fears, concerns and hopes is a powerful way to overcome the shame and stigma surrounding involvement. to break environmental awareness,” she said.

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