Eco-anxiety is a form of anxiety that many people experience due to the environmental crisis we are experiencing. As we witness the damage caused to our planet, we may feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and unsure of what we can do to help. This feeling of helplessness, despair, and anxiety can lead to other related concepts such as solastalgia, pre-traumatic stress, depression, and ecological grief. Solastalgia, coined by Glenn Albrecht, refers to the distress individuals feel when environmental changes negatively impact their sense of place or home, while ecological grief refers to the sadness and sense of loss experienced due to the destruction of nature and extinction of species.
Ecopsychology is a field of study that explores the relationship between humans and the natural world. It emphasizes the importance of systems-thinking, recognizing that we are interconnected with nature. By developing our ecological self and taking conscious, responsible actions, we can work towards creating a life-affirming culture.
One way to address eco-anxiety and related concepts is to deepen our connection to nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety and improve mental well-being. By immersing ourselves in nature and recognizing our interconnectedness, we can gain a sense of perspective and belonging, fostering love, appreciation and purpose. Through this perspective, we can become more willing to take constructive actions to protect and restore our natural world.
Engaging in activities in the natural world can mitigate eco-anxiety, reducing stress, helplessness, and despair. By taking constructive actions, we can combat eco-anxiety and help create a healthier society and planet for ourselves and future beings.