Eco-Anxiety & Grief
The number of people experiencing eco-anxiety and environmental grief has swelled significantly in the last few years. As an expert institute in anxiety and grief and a champion of the connection between nature and mental health, the Center for Nature Informed Therapy (CNIT) has a unique perspective and the qualifications to speak to the issue.
What is Eco-Anxiety & Grief?
Eco-anxiety, also known as climate anxiety or environmental anxiety, refers to the feelings of stress, fear, and helplessness that individuals may experience due to concerns about the current and future state of the environment and the impacts of climate change. This anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as worry about personal safety, grief over environmental loss, or guilt about one's own ecological footprint.
Eco-anxiety has gained attention in recent years as awareness of climate change and its consequences have grown. The American Psychological Association (APA) has recognized eco-anxiety as a legitimate concern and has published guidelines to help mental health professionals address these issues with their clients. The APA suggests that eco-anxiety can be addressed through building resilience, fostering a sense of community, and encouraging individual actions to mitigate climate change.
Eco-Anxiety and Grief Symptoms
Occasional worrying, frustration, anger, or helplessness is normal. However, if the following conditions are triggered by climate change or other environmental perils and persist, you or a loved one might be experiencing eco-grief and anxiety:
Feeling of hopelessness, fatalism, and fear
No desire to have kids due to environmental concern
If you have the above symptoms and they start to impact your everyday life, your ability to work, or your relationships with others, you should talk to a mental health professional specializing in eco-anxiety and grief.
Managing Eco-Anxiety & Grief
Face the pain
When we don't run from our feelings and with courage – face the pain – hold it with compassion – they reveal the other side of the pain: aliveness and love
Get help from a mental health professional
Find a therapist or counselor, especially one with training and experience to help you manage your relationship with nature and cope with the psychological effect of climate change.
Stay away from inaccurate fear stoking information. Educate yourself using the information from trustworthy credible sources.
Connect with nature
Building a strong positive relationship with nature will help you see the resiliency in our natural world.
Turn anxiety and grief into activism
Action with a purpose can help reduce feelings of anxiety and powerlessness. Those actions could include making the right decisions to live a sustainable life, being a positive role model for others, and volunteering with an organization that helps nature and/or mental health.
CNIT and Eco Anxiety
Speaking Engagement on the Topic
Mid-Atlantic Climate Change Education Conference
Climate Change - A Psychological Response
Maryland Center for History and Culture
Climate Anxiety and Eco-Grief: A Psychological Response
General Dynamic Information Technologies
Eco-Anxiety & Grief
"I really enjoyed yesterday’s webinar with Dr. Schreiber-Pan on environmental anxiety. ... Personally, I found it both very painful and grounding to be so firmly reminded of the fundamental losses we are experiencing. I find it easy to lose that connection in a haze of numbers. It gives me hope that you and others take this seriously and are finding ways to act within this industry. I’m looking forward to similar presentations in the future."
Sherry W, participant