Therapy for Climate Change Anxiety

Therapy for Climate Change Anxiety
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For people who love nature, thinking about climate change can generate feelings of stress, overwhelm, and anxiety, among others. For tips to help draw strength from your connection to nature and resources to help you manage your climate change anxiety, read along.

Have you ever had the experience where nature literally takes your breath away?

Maybe you’ve visited a nationally or internationally recognized and protected place. Or stood on a vista with seemingly endless trees expanding over mountains and valleys. Maybe you’ve been to a meadow full of wildflowers and flowing water. Perhaps you’ve swam in pools where waterfalls gently splashed near you. Or you’ve had close and intimate encounters with wild beings while also feeling free from danger. Or have you had the experience of looking up at the stars, so far away but so bright and the images that humans have created to make sense of them. Perhaps you’ve seen the northern lights, the milky way or a meteor shower. Maybe you’ve wrapped your arms around an ancient tree and whispered thank you.

Are memories coming up for you?

Give yourself permission to take this moment to recall and experience that moment again. Where were you? Were you alone or with others? What was the air quality? Do you remember what was surrounding you? Tap into the feelings of being there and being a part of something larger than yourself. Perhaps you felt awe, this feeling of being connected and also being small compared to the expanse of the world and time. If there was movement in your memory, recall the body sense of moving through that place.   

If nothing comes to mind, be gentle with yourself. For we are nature as well.

We may have forgotten in this society and culture of grocery stores, skyscrapers and paved roads. We tend to separate what is nature or natural from humans and what is made synthetically . There is nature within us and surrounding us always. The food we eat has a history of coming to be on our plates beyond the aisles of the store. Our exhale is just as vital to the trees and plants as their oxygen output is to our wellness. Our roots spread back through time as opposed to deep in the earth as plants’ do but here we are.   

It is so important to connect with the joy of life and nature within and surrounding us.

Especially during this time of climate change, anxiety that is becoming more and more apparent in the shifting of weather extremes that impact people’s lives in the immediate time frame. It is happening and feelings of worry or anxiety are common experiences when something feels out of our control, unknown and has the potential to cause harm. There may also be feelings of grief and shame regarding what is being lost, what will be lost and humans collective responsibility. We are currently living with ongoing chronic stress and trauma of climate change anxiety. The impact of which may be exasperated by ancestral, individual or collective traumas from either our history or what we are currently experiencing.

Please, remember that you are not alone and that there are many others who feel pain, anxiety, grief because of the current climate catastrophe.

And there are many others who are taking action and supporting the healing of the planet. The earth is calling for our support and for our action. But in order to do that well and sustainably, it is important for us to feel supported and empowered. We must believe that our efforts will have an impact, are needed and are meaningful. We need to feel connected to others who hold these efforts and are moving forward. Humans were never meant to do things alone and in the fight of reversing the impact of climate change there are many. Advocacy groups would welcome your collaboration. Climate psychotherapists can help reduce the stress response which tends to fool us into inaction or burn out. Climate grief or anxiety support groups exist to create community during this difficulty. There are resources available and I encourage you to tap into what is already around you to begin.  

If you are in California, I offer embodied creative nature based therapy to support folx in the time of climate catastrophe. My website is www.lhgcounseling.com and you can find other therapists www.mentalhealthmatch.com. In your search for a therapist, many therapists offer free 15 minute consultations during which you can ask how they support eco-anxiety/grief/ climate change anxiety. 

Wishing you wellness,

Larissa Hul-Galasek, LMFT 126063

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