Humans are living proof of climate stress in a time of uncertainty about the future of the planet and how we could continue to exist. “It simply came to our notice then. “For example, the prevalence of widespread forest fires, where the EPA indicates an increased duration of the fire season, as well as the frequency and area burned,” said Kassondra Glenn, LMSW, social worker and recovery specialist at Prosperity Haven.
Even those who have not yet been directly exposed to climate change damage can feel the natural effects, simply by looking at data and using it to create scenarios in their minds to increase stress levels and worries around it and deregulate it. the nervous system. “Deregulation can manifest as muscle tension, digestive changes, racing thoughts, mood swings, battle / escape / freeze responses and more,” says Glenn.
And when this is experienced for years, fear and anxiety can be attributed to “climate stress”, which unfortunately can worsen and become more cumbersome as the climate crisis worsens.
What is climate stress?
“Climate change stress is an overload experience associated with everything that surrounds negative environmental change on our planet, with humans being part of nature and therefore closely linked to the environment,” says Glenn. Both the data and the changes we see and perceive tend to play a role in creating and prolonging stress about climate change and the future.
According to Glenn, the symptoms of climate stress include physical signs such as muscle tension, digestive changes and changes in sleep patterns, psychological signs such as racing thoughts, chewing and difficulty concentrating, and finally relationship signs such as changes in choices or not. procreation due to the state and the future state of the planet.
And while some worries can lead to extreme or irrational thoughts, the root cause and issue of climate stress, how to help climate change and its effects on the planet and our way of life, is quite valid. and logic in logic and thought.
So if there is no more knowledge about what climate change is and how to help climate change destroy the planet and affect our future, the stress and anxiety of climate change can come into play. it is difficult to mitigate without such answers.
How to manage climate stress
The best way to manage climate change stress is to first identify the stress and address it as an issue, and be proactive in thinking of any ways to help with climate change.
You are not wrong to be afraid of this, so it is important to consider it before developing an on-site climate stress guide and applying practices to alleviate stress and feel more comfortable by feeling uncomfortable.
“Stress is an unpleasant experience that can be tempting to repel, and we often believe that ignoring stress will make it go away. “However, what we ignore tends to grow,” says Glenn. Thus, recognizing the stress of climate change and its presence, gives us the opportunity to identify the underlying emotions and practice the regulation of the nervous system to better manage the symptoms and alleviate any fear or tension.
Once you recognize the anxiety of climate change about what it is and why it is a problem, let the sadness manifest and be experienced as part of the healing process. According to Glenn, one of the most common emotions behind the stress of climate change is sadness. “We are mourning our planet, the future we thought we would have, and all of that has already been lost to climate change,” says Glenn.
“If we appear only for the stress itself, we put a bandage on the deeper causes, so it is important to let ourselves cry, let ourselves be angry or scared and yes, let ourselves grieve.” , says Glenn.
Embrace support groups or therapy and avoid isolation
Once we mourn, we can then take action steps to solve problems and alleviate climate stress and prevent further damage due to stress. “Go for a connection, as mental health tends to deteriorate when we are isolated, where if we do not have spaces to express our stress and everything behind it, it can get worse,” says Glenn.
Connecting can be like chatting with close and trusted friends, meeting others with similar interests or concerns about climate change as part of a peer-to-peer support group, and a mental health professional discussing how to manage Climate change anxiety and one-on-one symptoms.
Use Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques
It is also helpful to practice grounding techniques. “In times when stress is high, it can be additionally important to have available techniques for regulating the nervous system that may resemble meditation, awareness and / or coping skills,” says Glenn.
You can also benefit from doing so with the help or presence of others, which also promotes this sense of community and connection. “Dealing with people on a regular basis can also help expand our window of tolerance, which in turn helps increase the capacity of the nervous system over time,” says Glenn.
Consider DBT treatment
Glenn also recommends researching stress tolerance skills, which aim to reduce stress and promote feelings of calm during times of intense depression. “Anxiety tolerance skills are designed to quickly regulate the nervous system and are based on a type of therapy called DBT (dialectical behavior therapy),” says Glenn.
While you can seek out DBT training and therapy through therapy, these DBT skills can actually be self-taught, by their very nature, which can be especially helpful in times when current access to a therapist is limited or unavailable.
A flow chart is useful for selecting the right capacity to tolerate discomfort as part of stress management for climate change.
“As always, it is advisable to consult a mental health professional about your individual situation, as everyone’s mental health challenges are unique and what may work for some may not work for others,” says Glenn.