By DePaul Healthy Trailblazer Journal 8B staff | What is eco-anxiety?
Climate change is making some people uneasy, concerned, and fearful. There’s a term for this feeling: eco-anxiety.
Amia Hines, a Philadelphia psychotherapist, said eco-anxiety is caused by “things we can’t control in our environment.”
Climate change “can be hard to think about,” she says. “It’s worrying.”
But you can do things to cope, Ms. Hines says. You can cut back on social media and TV, because they can increase worries. She also suggests getting outside and enjoying nature. Take a bike ride or go on a hike. “You can use your five senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching—in your environment to help you stay present and focus on the positives more than the negatives,” Ms. Hines says.
Meditation can help too, she says. And you can get involved in helping the environment. Look for activities such as recycling, or join a community organization that’s tackling problems.
When she was younger, Ms. Hines says, she didn’t know it was okay to experience anxiety. “And I want you to know it is OK,” she says. “Guidance counselors and therapists, they’re here to help you and support you in a non-judgmental way. So it’s OK to turn to them. Even your teachers and principal, turn to them for support.”
It’s important to talk to someone you trust about things that you are going through, she says. And that includes worry about climate change.
Photo: DePaul students interview Amia Hines (left).