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Mental HealthWorrying About Climate Change Could Cause Mental Health Anxiety Too

Earth is already feeling the negative consequences of global warming. Rising sea levels, increases in natural disasters, droughts, shifting temperatures… The list of impacts on the planet grows on a daily basis. Yet there may be more, unforeseen consequences to all of us who call it home.

There have been many studies linked to increased anxiety about the current state of the planet, with climate change causing worry about the future and how increasing temperatures will affect everyday life. It doesn’t have to always be this way. Just as we can take steps to cut down on climate change, there are also steps we can take to help alleviate the personal stress we feel from it.

Stressing Over Climate Change

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and worried about what the future will bring. Constant news on how rising sea levels affect populations and increase the threat of natural disasters makes it difficult to bear. And with the world already suffering from mental health degradation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating global conflict, and political tensions, maintaining healthy psychological well-being can be difficult to do.

According to a recent report from the American Psychological Association, over three-quarters of Americans are concerned about climate change, and nearly a quarter are “alarmed” by it, which is a significant increase compared to the latest report. This anxiety is higher among vulnerable populations. Those at increased risk of more natural disasters, feeling the effects of droughts or famine, or more likely to be displaced due to flooding have shown to be associated with more common mood disorders, anger, depression, and overall exhaustion.

The effect of climate change on mental health is so prevalent that it’s received its own name, “eco-anxiety,” a term that is now commonly used in mental health practices and by younger generations to describe the general feeling of worry now felt across the globe. Couple eco-anxiety with the harmful effects of climate change on physical health, and the environmental shift is wreaking havoc on overall well-being. As climate change worsens, so does the effect it has on our health.

The Future of Climate Change Anxiety

Unless drastic measures are taken over the coming year to overcome global warming, its effects will continue to intensify. According to a recent NASA study, sea levels are expected to have risen by up to a foot by 2050, increasing coastal flooding and displacing more people across the globe. The United Nations (U.N.) released a report that we will have around $20 billion in annual economic losses by 2030.

With this expected ongoing rise in negative effects of climate change, it’s clear we can expect to see the toll that it will have on our mental health also worsen. The U.N. indicated that by 2050, North Americans are projected to see a severe increase in suicides from exposure to potential natural disasters as well as the effect of increased heat on irritability and depression.

In 2018, 108 million people required aid following natural disasters linked to climate change. By 2030, the expectation is that the number will increase by 50%. As research continues to emerge on this increasing phenomenon, we can expect to see the future psychological state of people across the globe also affected by climate change. Thankfully, strategies exist to address these concerns and improve mental health.

Combating Eco-Anxiety

More mental health experts are becoming trained in assisting people suffering from eco-anxiety. As explained on GeodeHealth.com, therapists, social workers, and other mental health specialists are learning to treat individuals using existential therapies that help people face despair and understand their relationship with nature.

Other opportunities to improve people’s relationship with climate change can mean taking action as a group, not just as an individual. Studies show that becoming individually involved in efforts to reduce our environmental impact and improve the world can often overwhelm people. They can feel the work they’re doing is insignificant, and that they are alone in the fight to save the planet. But, if they join a group of like-minded people in helping to pick trash around a river or getting involved in a clean energy initiative, it can have a profound impact, making the person feel more socially connected and supported.

There are other activities that can improve people’s overall anxiety too. Mindfulness practices, philanthropy, and increasing one’s time spent in nature through hikes or other outdoor activities can all have positive influences on mental health. With studies emerging constantly, researchers are actively looking for new ways to help people start combating eco-anxiety and cultivating a sense of hope.

Final Thoughts

Mental health anguish stemming from climate change worries is real. Increased anxiety due to potential natural disasters, the effects of shifting temperatures, and the potential need to uproot people from their homes all play a major role in individuals’ outlook on global warming.

There are opportunities to improve our mental health when it comes to climate change. Working with a therapist or taking group action can greatly affect how we deal with the warming of our planet. If you feel anxious or worried about climate change, remember that you’re not alone. Why not organize a group of like-minded peers and start taking action today?

This post has been sponsored by Digital Authority Partners

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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