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Eco-Anxiety, Why Should We be More Aware and Care?

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Have you ever had feelings of anxiety or fear when you saw bad news about the environment? Or have you ever experienced a feeling of guilt that is quite big if you are doing activities that are not environmentally friendly? Until it affects your daily life? If so and the effect is quite severe, you may be experiencing Eco-Anxiety or Environmental Anxiety.


In 2017, APA and eco America defined eco-anxiety as a chronic fear of environmental doom [1]. Generally, eco-anxiety is experienced by young individuals with a perceived fear of the impact of being exposed to climate change, as well as feelings of helplessness and not knowing what to do to repair environmental change or damage [2].


Melati Riyanto Wijsen, an environmental activist stated that around 70% of Gen-Z in the world have experienced concerns about climate change [3]. Another environmental activist, Swietenia Puspa Lestari, also stated that many young people expressed their concerns about eco-anxiety, and were worried whether what they had done was an activity that had an impact on the environment [4].

 

Watch more about the eco-anxiety [7]

 

Eco-Anxiety, is it a chronic disease?

Until now, eco-anxiety is still not considered a disease, but concerns about environmental damage experienced by individuals can cause psychological disorders. The American Psychology Association (APA) considers that internalizing environmental problems that affect the earth has psychological consequences for some people [5].


Trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, tension in social relationships, and feelings of fear and helplessness are mental conditions that are directly related when experiencing the effects of climate change—both acute and chronic—according to the APA [6].


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How to cope with eco-anxiety

The perceived impact of eco-anxiety can be reduced similar to the impact of anxiety disorders in general, such as looking for the positive in every situation, practicing self-regulation of emotions, or consulting a professional if you feel that it interferes with daily activities. Here are some ways you can overcome eco-anxiety.


  • Always be responsible for what we do to the environment.

  • Educate ourselves and the surrounding environment with credible information.

  • Take concrete actions to help take care of the environment, such as reducing and processing waste, adopting a sustainable lifestyle, and so on.

  • Practice good thought patterns and emotional regulation when exposed to news about environmental damage.


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Conclusion

Eco-anxiety has a different impact on each individual and tends to occur more in people who are aware of climate change and other environmental problems. This condition is very difficult to avoid because the feelings of anxiety and worry that are felt do not only have an impact on themselves, but also on the next generation.


Therefore, it is very important to be more aware and care about ourselves and the environment we live in.



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