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How to cope with eco-anxiety
October 23, 2023

By Isabel, Allison, and Sydney, AMY Northwest Healthy Bulldog | Eco-anxiety is a new term. People are using it “to describe negative emotions associated with the perception of climate change,” according to National Geographic.

These feelings include heightened awareness about how global warming can affect us and future generations. Natural disasters also seem to be a big cause of eco-anxiety because they are dangerous and sometimes unexpected.

Anxiety is a feeling of alarm or worry, according to kidshealth.org, an award-winning health website. “It’s normal to feel anxious, nervous, or worried at times,” the website says.

Health experts say some anxiety can be helpful. For instance, it can prompt a student to prepare for a test. But too much anxiety can cause problems such as sleeplessness, irritability, and lack of concentration, says the National Institute of Mental Health.

So how can we prevent anxiety about the environment? Here are some tips from healthline.com: Volunteer on gardening projects which can help the environment. Talk to a knowledgeable adult. Make small changes in your home such as turning off lights when you are not in the room, buying clothes that are secondhand, and exploring nature.

It is OK to be stressed about our planet; however, realize that its fate does not completely rest on your shoulders. “You don’t have to be individually

responsible for saving the planet—none of us do—but we can do things individually to look after our own footprint,” Susan Clayton, a conservation psychologist at the College of Wooster, told National Geographic. She studies how climate change impacts mental health. 

Isabel, Allison, and Sydney are in eighth grade.

Illustration by Nyla, eighth grade, AMY Northwest Healthy Bulldog.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

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