How Climate Change is Affecting Our Emotional Wellbeing and What to Do About It

When we are presented with a problem that is seemingly insurmountable, our brains and minds tend to enter something of a ‘survival’ state. In many ways, this is our way of dealing with crises that are seemingly not only hard to comprehend but also difficult to overcome. 

In recent months, and indeed years, the proof of climate change has become harder to refute. This is even more readily accepted by those who have seen the impacts of freak weather patterns, increased temperatures, forest fires, and other phenomena that have had a real impact on all our lives.

Recent reports suggest that the sense of foreboding and dread that goes with the fear of what climate change will mean for all of us in future years is most keenly felt by the youth among our population.

A recent BBC report states that almost 60% of young people who were interviewed felt very worried or extremely worried about climate change. Perhaps even more concerning is the statistic that shows that 45% of young people said that their feelings about climate change affected their daily lives. 

These numbers are unprecedented and go some way to show how far the topic has permeated our lives. Two-thirds of those approached felt sad, afraid, and anxious about the future, which seems understandable given the ongoing evidence that is before us.

So What Can You Do to Improve Your Mental Wellbeing?

There are a wide range of emotions felt by those who find the topic, and reality, of climate change to be negatively affecting their mental health. These range from grief, helplessness to guilt and anger. As the subject matter is ongoing and seemingly not one we can easily assuage or lessen, it’s unsurprising that the feelings felt are so mixed.

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In order to reduce the feeling of helplessness, you can always look to take action. Making your voice heard, either virtually or in person, at events or protests, will help you feel part of a group that has similar feelings and also give you the sense of taking action. 

For those of you who derive comfort from a more spiritual plain, by all means, consider seeking comfort in those avenues. For some, that might involve discussing the issue with a psychic professional, such as, and for others, that might mean speaking to a therapist or a counselor. 

Keeping your emotions bottled up is never the answer, and as such, talking to others about how you feel will always be of use. 

Take a Break 

Though it’s always useful to be up to date with all the latest news and developments on any topic, there is a very real risk that over-exposure to the topic of climate change can begin to cause a real strain on your mental wellbeing.

The 24/7 nature of both the news cycle and social media makes the importance of occasionally switching off even more palatable. Enjoy days away from thinking and reading about these issues and try to recharge yourself. 

Dealing with distressing feelings is hard enough but doing so for every waking minute of our lives is not sustainable. 

Think Local, Act Global

To better deal with the strains of climate change and to help you categorize the battle ahead, why not think of solid local goals that will help with the bigger picture?

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This could mean planning eco-drives in your neighborhoods, perhaps helping out at relevant organizations where you live. Making ‘small’ tangible steps will help you make sense of the wider goal, and because these local plans are more manageable, they’ll make you feel like you aren’t fighting an unwinnable war. 

Speak Out, Talk to Others

For many of us who struggle mentally, especially when concerning weighty issues and topics like climate change, there is a tendency to retreat within ourselves. This is perhaps the worst reaction you can have. Clearly, it’s tempting to shut out the rest of the world when you feel that you are either unheard or misunderstood, but the answer lies in speaking your mind.

Seek out others who have similar feelings to you and try to engage positively in all the issues that affect your mental state. Sometimes just the mere act of talking to someone who is in the same boat can help ease much of the torment you may be internalizing. 

Suppose you are a teenager who is struggling with the realities of climate change, then why not consider setting up a workshop or discussion group. No doubt, you’ll connect with countless others who are well aware of the pain and anguish that you are suffering. 

Change IS Good, Change IS Possible

One emotion that appears to override most others when it comes to the pain that is felt by those who are feeling the pressure of climate change is anger. A great deal of that is down to the perception, somewhat grounded in reality, that we are not doing enough to prevent or manage the man-made impact of climate change.

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It would be fair to say that most of us feel that more should be done by those in power, as well as on a local level, and when we perceive that nothing is being done, that only makes us angrier.

But rest assured, change is possible, and change can happen. 

Hope is the Key to Restoring the Positive Emotional State

When we feel as if an issue is being ignored or can not be fixed, we often become disillusioned or just outright give up. That is when hope becomes key. In terms of climate change, that sense of hope may prove harder to locate, but it’s there.

While it’s true that efforts to aid the push to help reverse the tide when it comes to the climate change crisis might be slow-moving, perhaps draw solace from the fact that not a single human being on the face of the planet wants to destroy their home. 

After all, it’s the only one we have. 

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