We read about it and hear about it everywhere, mainly among young people under 35, but all generations are affected. Anxiety, a fear, an anguish linked to the quality of our environment that puts us at risk.
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion that can affect the body and mind simultaneously. This emotion is triggered by the perception of possible danger.
When we perceive a threat, our body is activated and we experience various physical symptoms: muscle tension, accelerated breathing and heart rate...
More precisely, eco-anxiety is a state of distress, sometimes profound, caused by the perception of irreversible changes in the environment. In other words, it's a state of deep concern linked to current environmental issues.
To a certain extent, eco-anxiety is perfectly healthy. Let me explain: in a state of anxiety, our body is ready to react to danger. When experienced in moderation, anxiety is a valuable asset:
- Sharpens the senses
- Sharpens reflexes
- Increases alertness
- Makes you more efficient at certain tasks.
- Helps you adapt to hazards in your environment
Obviously, we're giving you some pointers on how to use or counteract eco-anxiety. We are not mental health specialists, and we refer here to real-life experiences of moderate eco-anxiety.
Disturbing information galore
Too much is like not enough! We know that climate change is happening. So it's not necessary to feed on and turn all our attention solely to this kind of news, and be able to identify the good news that comes out about it.
As we said earlier, in a state of anxiety, the body is ready to react.
So it's an opportunity to use it as a driving force to take concrete action and participate in a collective movement. This can be done, for example, by making commitments to ourselves to reduce our ecological impact (e.g.: eating less meat, aiming for a zero-waste lifestyle, using active transport...).
It can also be done by getting involved in collective movements (e.g.: actions of a non-profit organization, political actions, demonstrations...) and getting together with like-minded people.
All our daily gestures are a way of affirming our values and taking concrete action in response to climate change. Not only do they have an impact on eco-anxiety, but they also enable us to act as role models, encouraging others to change their consumption habits.
By focusing on the present moment and the concrete actions you can take, it's possible to manage the multiple uncertainties of the future.
Of course, we all have a role to play in sustaining the environment as a suitable living environment for the living beings on this beautiful planet! I invite you to use anxiety as a motor for constructive action. If you have strategies that work for you, leave them in the comments: they could be useful for others!