For years, the climate crisis has been a significant cause of distress. Apart from causing ecological damage, it strikes people’s psychology as well.
Amidst the activist's strive for the implementation of pivotal programs by world leaders, the profuse association of climate change to our sentiments has become evident.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ECO-ANXIETY?
The psychological repercussion of climate change on some people is called eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. Though, not considered a disease, an intensified consternation for people who are experiencing psychological disorders is continuously being observed.
Eco-anxiety, according to the American Psychology Association (APA), is defined as, "The chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one's future and the next generations is called eco-anxiety."
As per Medical News Today, cognizance of the rising hazard of extreme weather incidences, loss of livelihood or housing, fears for future generations, and feelings of vulnerability could stem from anxiety encompassing environmental issues.
ECO-ANXIETY: A MENTAL ILLNESS?
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Eco-anxiety, as of present, is not cataloged. As such Health care professionals do not accept it as a properly diagnosable condition.
However, Mental health experts, consider it rational and apply this term’s usage in the field of ecopsychology. Ecopsychology is a branch of science that deals with people's psychological interrelations with ecology and its impact on their identity, well-being, and health.
Research done on 10,000 young people, aged 16-25, across 10 countries, found that people from countries that attributed this to their national governments, who they said were “betraying” them and future generations through their inaction are more directly and immediately impacted by climate change and tend to be more worried about their future than the people who believe in their government authorities. In comparison to the 56% in Finland, 92% of the younger generation in the Philippines intuited that the forthcoming future was fearsome and unnerving. Youth in the UK and the U.S. had low confidence in their government authorities than the people in the countries of India and Nigeria. Only 28% and 21% of younger Americans and Brits convicted that the government authorities could not be given credence and are not trustworthy when it came to the Earth – whereas 51% of Indians had belief and entrustment in their authorities. 56%of the 10,000 people surveyed voiced that they approved of the dissemination that mankind is foredoomed and will be in dire straits, while 75 percent said they assumed the future was scary and disconcerting.
I often worry that if I bring up my eco-anxiety around my peers, I will be the 'downer' but sharing your fears, concerns, and hopes is a powerful way to break down the shame and stigma around engagement in environmentalism.
Sacha Wright, Research and Curriculum Coordinator at Force of Nature told Natural History Museum
This study was published in Lancet Planetary Health, led by academics and professionals at the University of Bath, Stanford Medicine Centre for Innovation in Global Health, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and others.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ECO-ANXIETY?
Some studies have found that going out for walks in nature (sans technology) and meditation may be favorable for people who have eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. Hobbies like gardening, planting trees, and other similar activities could foster a sense of kinship with the ecosphere.
A Research and Curriculum Coordinator at Force of Nature told Natural History Museum, Sacha Wright, said that one must always share their worries and not bottle up their anxiety.
"I often worry that if I bring up my eco-anxiety around my peers, I will be the 'downer' but sharing your fears, concerns and hopes is a powerful way to break down the shame and stigma around engagement in environmentalism," she said