It’s tough.

You’ve got deadlines to meet, bills to pay, plans to book and meals to cook. There are enough angst-inducing things to keep your brain fully occupied from morning to night—the last thing you need is another source of stress.

It seems like the daily mainstream news can focus a lot of the negative factors rather than what's improving in the world.

The threat of climate change was once like the distant rumble of thunder on a sunny afternoon.

But after the 'second hottest day on record'. The reality of climate change feels like watching a horror movie in which the killer is suddenly inside the house. In 2017, the American Psychological Association reported that climate change is affecting our mental health and causing “a number of different emotions, inducing fear, anger, powerlessness and exhaustion.”

Worries induced by seeing such things can be hard to talk about, Ashlee Cunsolo, a social science professor at Memorial University, states this is because we don’t have words in our language to adequately express feelings of grief related to climate change. "But there is power in talking about it." she says "We only grieve what we love, and we feel this anxiety because we care. Coming together and talking about it is a huge step, and it can spark change.”

If you have already taken steps to be more environmentally friendly or learn about the current issues that you believe in, you can harness your worries for good such as:

  • Start a fundraiser or raise awareness online that helps your cause.
  • Create steps that will make your workplace/school more environmentally friendly.
  • Go to a protest.
  • Vote for people that share values that are important to you.

It may sound corny but it's important to take a break from seeing too much negative media, be it the news or on your phone. Try to avoid this kind of material for a while if it makes you upset. You can find apps such as Headspace, Calm or Aloe Bud which can provide time in the day for meditation.

Last but not least, you should: Remember all the good that has already happened! The world isn't in a state of all doom and gloom, websites such as Positive News provide stories that focus on the good in our world.

Already:

  • The world saw record breaking Mass reforestation in Ethiopia this year.
  • 2018 saw the largest annual increase in global renewable generation capacity ever.
  • ...and new technology to help relieve the climate crisis is being created everyday.

The best way to feel calm is by taking one step at a time and talk to someone if you continue to feel overwhelmed. By recognizing our anxiety about the future, we can take steps to make that future less likely.


Cherisse Hawkins and material by Sydney Loney