Climate anxiety: are you worried about climate change?
What is climate anxiety? Global warming and climate change are incomprehensible threats for most people. A threat that will not affect this globe in our lifetime.
Some people think that they are responsible for global warming and try to change their lifestyles to save the planet before it is too late.
In addition, there is a group of people considering climate change as the biggest threat. These people are suffering from a mental condition, called climate anxiety.
What is climate anxiety?
Climate anxiety is not considered a disease, it is rather a state or condition. Its symptoms are similar to any other mental illness coming with stress and discomfort. The reason for developing this condition is the fear of the consequences of global warming. People with climate anxiety are constantly thinking about the worst outcome for our society.
This trend is very similar to the anxiety of the 50s and 70s when everyone was afraid of a nuclear strike. Many people developed a constant fear, thinking that any day the end can come.
However, the problem is not the fear, because the root of the stress is not fiction, but very real. Therefore, it is important not to suppress the fear, but rather face it, and seek for solution. Companies have to provide wellbeing services for their employees and maintain a green, eco-friendly workspace.
Why are people worried about climate change?
Greenhouse gas emission is peaking nowadays, and the use of fossil fuels is also increasing, before reaching its peak around the mid-20s. The progress of decarbonization is only at the beginning, switching to renewable energy is not as fast as it should be.
If we look around, people are
- wasting food
- use their cars instead of public transport or bikes
- eat a lot of meat
- buy fashion goods
- and use single-use plastics.
In order to overcome climate anxiety, our society has to change its lifestyle and habits.
Dealing with change anxiety: symptoms and treatment
Anxiety is an unreal, exaggerated reaction to fear. Symptoms are different for every individual. The type and the intensity of anxiety are based on personality: how balanced, stable, mature, compulsive, or neurotic is that individual? What is the tendency to worry and fear?
In some cases, people are so afraid of a future climate catastrophe that the fear is blocking them from their work and daily activities, such as shopping. A person with this anxiety can spend hours shopping, selecting the less harmful product for the environment. In extreme cases, people can even have hallucinations about the effects of global warming.
In a radical way, people can also grow climate depression instead of climate change anxiety. In the case of climate depression, the individual can feel lonely and powerless, because there is nothing he/she could do against global warming.
The good news is that climate anxiety is treatable.
The first step is accepting fear. If we don’t accept it, we won’t be able to change it. After accepting, we can fight to eliminate fear.
The most effective way to treat it is to choose the right people and companies to connect with. People with the same goals, environmentally friendly companies can provide an atmosphere that gives hope: people are doing something good for the sake of the planet.
Companies need to establish an eco-friendly workspace and spread the word about the importance of recycling, energy-saving, and the use of public transport. The biggest companies have a department for employee wellness.
Companies can give a lot to the environment. They can organize CSR events, both for the employees and the local community. Events like garbage collection, tree planting, charity running can be a good way to draw attention to global warming and the importance of change.
In the meantime, businesses can do good things with their money too. Lately, IKEA bought a whole forest to protect it from deforestation.
Conclusion: does climate anxiety lead to climate depression?
Climate anxiety is real, but it does not necessarily lead to climate depression. Also, there is a solution to avoid anxiety and depression.
It is important to avoid fake news, thus excluding the horrible thoughts from our heads. Read positive news about climate change.
Companies can do the most to fight global warming and maintain a mentally healthy workplace, but their employees have to change their everyday routines too.