Eco-Anxiety: How Seeing A Therapist Can Help You Cope With Climate Change

Being exposed to negative news about the state of our planet can impact how we go through our everyday life. As the media covers climate change and its consequences, it can arouse feelings of despair and helplessness. This rising phenomenon is called eco-anxiety.

Eco-anxiety is defined as the fear of global climate change or environmental doom. Environmental issues, such as food insecurity, global warming, and rising sea levels affect people’s thoughts and actions. 

Every day, we face problems like access to clean water, pollution, and plastic waste. It can be scary to think about what kind of planet we will leave behind for future generations. Because of this issue, mental health professionals have developed better coping strategies for this specific anxiety.

The Psychological Impact Of Climate Change

Increased human activity and industrialization have led to rapid consumption of fossil fuels, increasing greenhouse gasses, and deforestation. It was only in the 1970s that scientists linked this human activity to the decline of our environment. 

As the years went on, more ominous signs of abrupt changes in our climate began to bear their consequences. Scientists predict that by 2030, we could be suffering severe and irreversible impacts of climate change.

We are now facing the catastrophic consequences of climate change. The worldwide increase in average temperatures has been directly correlated with the increase of hurricanes and heatwaves. These extreme weather events have brought more disaster risks to vulnerable countries and communities. 

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Because of this, many countries have suffered a collective trauma from natural disasters. It has cost people their homes and livelihoods. And so, it’s not surprising that the populations exposed to disastrous events are at risk for mental health issues. This can be caused by their reactions to extreme events, the loss of lives, decimated resources, and lack of support.

Some might argue that eco-anxiety is a good kind of panic, as it makes us more aware of how devastating climate change truly is. Because of the impending sense of doom, we act with more urgency to address environmental problems. Meanwhile, others believe that because we are aware of the effects of our actions, we’re more motivated to make better choices for planet Earth. 

But just like any other medical diagnosis, eco-anxiety is a form of anxiety that has debilitating effects on people and their ability to perform daily tasks. While being aware of the consequences of climate change is good, being hyperaware to the point of eco-anxiety can get in the way of how we manage our daily lives. We become paralyzed and anxious about the uncertainty of the future.

Communities At Risk

It’s important to recognize who is most affected by climate change. While climate change can affect us all, marginalized communities suffer the most. These sectors of our community are the most vulnerable to disaster risks.

On average, black people are more likely to suffer from air pollution than white people. Urban communities are forced into areas that don’t follow health protocols, especially low-income neighborhoods. 

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Because marginalized communities struggle with many barriers, their resources become limited. Indigenous communities have also suffered the brunt of climate change because of large-scale deforestation, costing them their heritage and identity.

It’s tragic to watch the world rapidly declining, and because of rising sea levels, some cities may not even be on the map by 2050. With all these in mind, it’s unsurprising that many suffer from eco-anxiety.

Who Can Suffer From Eco-Anxiety?

It is natural for us to feel a sense of guilt when thinking about our environment’s issues. It is the case that human activity is responsible for this. However, the truth is that large corporations are the major contributors to global warming. But as individuals, we can feel like the weight is on our shoulders. How can we even think of undoing years of collective ecological damage?

While many people worry about ongoing climate issues, some people are severely affected by a pre-existing anxiety condition. Their fears are further exacerbated by the uncertainty of global climate change that could harm their loved ones.

The impact of climate change can manifest in our mental health through:

  • intrusive thoughts
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • trauma
  • feelings of helplessness
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When we think about how big the planet is and the irreversible damage we have caused through years of neglect and ignorance, we can feel small and powerless.

Seeing A Therapist 

Eco-anxiety is on the rise as our planet continues to suffer more from ecological damage. Because an anxiety disorder characterizes symptoms of eco-anxiety, a proper mental health professional can provide you with all the resources you need to help you cope.

Seeing a therapist will help you voice out your problems in a neutral environment. Your therapist will help guide you through the steps toward understanding your thoughts and behaviors. Together, you can pinpoint areas you feel particularly anxious about and create proactive plans to address intrusive thoughts. Through this, you can better cope and function.

Some coping strategies will include taking positive action, such as:

  • being more involved with your community 
  • participating in environmental activism
  • switching to a more sustainable lifestyle 
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Having a sense of responsibility for what you can control will help you significantly. These positive actions will help you feel more empowered to make conscious changes in your lifestyle. It will also benefit you by being in a community of people who share the same sentiments over climate change. 

Detaching yourself from negative media is also a good coping strategy. Frequent exposure to tragic news does harm to your mental health more than you realize. Furthermore, mindful-based approaches can help you deal with intense emotions associated with the environment.

Conclusion

Your therapist’s goal is not to make you care any less about the environment but to tackle these issues with a more meaningful approach. This can help you better yourself and your community. 

When you decide to seek a therapist for help, you are healing yourself and your community. You are acknowledging that you need help sorting through your thoughts and thinking of ways to move forward. When you and your therapist have mapped out a proactive plan of action, you move from feeling powerless to empowered. And remember that your changes, no matter how small, can positively impact your community and the planet. 

Eco-Friendly Ways To Practice At Home Even During A Pandemic

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Who says you can’t be eco-friendly at home during the pandemic? Well, you can be with these tips. It may be necessary and straightforward, but it can genuinely help the environment so much more now that we are in a crisis. Kids can also do these things, and thus, without further ado, here are eco-friendly ways to practice at home even during a pandemic.

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Glass Kettles And Water Purifiers – The Secret To Avoid Needing A Therapist Because Of Your Liquids

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A therapist in any city tends to entertain clients in different ways. Some have a little friendly chat with the patients to get them comfortable before starting the consultation process, for instance. Others, meanwhile, stock up on snacks and tea or coffee that they can offer to clients while either waiting or feeling too stressed out. And as  clinical psychologist John Duffy puts it, “I find that I’m far better at guiding people to manage their stress than I am at taking my own advice, and managing my own.”

The thing is, a patient who also happens to be an environmentalist may have a couple of issues with the latter, particularly when it comes to the beverages. To be specific, this person may wonder about the equipment used to heat up the coffee or tea, as well as how safe the water that gets mixed with such liquids is. Aside from anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions, after all, the patient may have had a traumatic experience with drinking unpurified water. The construction of electric kettles and the burning of fossil fuels whenever the item gets plugged in may not sit well with them either.

If you can relate to such issues and want to avoid having to go to a therapist specifically because of those, perhaps we can fancy you with a few eco-friendly recommendations.

Top 3 Glass Kettles

If there is one beverage that I can drink for each passing day of my life besides water, it will be tea. I like how it hydrates my body every time, how it calms my nerves, and how some studies say it can take me one skip away from having cancer. “Tea drinking could provide a leisurely addition, or even an alternative, to the mood-boosting effects of exercise,” says neuropsychiatrist Stefan Borgwardt.

Thus, to get the most out of it, there are three glass kettles that I use alternately.

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Source: en.m.wikipedia.org

The first one is the Numi Organic Glass Teapot and 6 Flowering Tea Blossoms. To see the edible flowers bloom before your eyes are satisfying. It is as if you see something magical happen. The bonus is that you will get to drink the sweet tea that the combination of the hot water and the flowers has produced.

When I do not have a second to waste in the morning, I bring out my Medelco 12-Cup Glass Stovetop Whistling Kettle and dash back to my bedroom to get ready for work. The tea will not overflow because the teapot gives me a clear indication if it is prepared to be taken out of the stove. I have never needed to look at the kitchen mitts either since the handle does not heat up.

However, the best glass tea kettle in my eyes is the BonJour Zen Glass Teapot, which seems to be the byproduct of fusing modern and old styles. The wooden stand, scoop, and handle have been amazingly crafted for the tea lovers who are meticulous about the tea-making process. The stainless infuser that keeps the tea within the mesh is excellent too because I do not want leaves swirling in my teacup.

3 Tips On How To Purify Water at Home

Having purified water to drink daily can keep a person or a family away from contracting diseases that hard metals, bacteria, and other microorganisms contaminating the reservoir can cause. Alicia Clark, PsyD, says, “A replenishing mental health day should include consuming as much water as possible, restoring hydration and flushing toxins, which in turn can perk up your body and mind.”

Hence, below are several tips on how to purify water at home for drinking purposes.

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Source: en.wikipedia.org

1. Use The Boiling Technique

Boiling is a traditional method of water purification. When you allow the pot to sit under the flame until the bubbles come up quickly, indicating that the water is at its highest temperature, the microbes and metallic elements that are mixed in the water will be eradicated. This is the reason why the kettles or any cookware that you make use of for boiling gets coated with a thick layer of white substance over time. That is practically the calcium that evaporated from the water.

2. Try A Water Filtering System

Homeowners nowadays have access to purification apparatuses and continuously have germ-free water available for the people living in the house. Some prefer this technique because they will not have to wait and spend much on gas.

These purifiers vary in size and use. While a few of them need to stand on the sink or get connected directly to the spout, others have a more sophisticated design. Examples for the latter are the ones that utilize UV lamp or pump or floating filters.

3. Drop Purification Tablets

If you are looking for an instant way to purify water, you may get chemical tablets from specialty shops. This is beneficial for individuals who often go to remote areas around the world which do not have a stable supply of clean water. Just a word of caution, the iodine tablets may not be used by senior citizens or pregnant women.

In The End

As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.” Heed these tips to have drinkable water for your coffee, tea, and other beverages all the time.

Tips For Reducing Plastic Use In The Household

Plastic is handy. It allows people to store things conveniently and cheaply. It is also an easily acquired resource. There probably isn’t a single family out there that doesn’t use some form of plastic.

However, with all its practical uses, plastic comes with a dire consequence—its effects on the environment. It takes ages for plastic particles to break down. When they do, the wildlife ingests the broken down particles, which could kill them. Should they survive, the plastic particles will remain in their system and be passed on to whatever they fall prey.

To prevent the harmful effects of plastic from continuing, we have to stop it at its source. One way to work toward this is to lessen one’s plastic use. Here are a few ways to reduce one’s consumption of plastic in the household.

Stop Buying Unnecessary Plastic Items

When you buy some food to take home, a lot of restaurants pack the meal with plastic forks, spoons, and knives. This practice is a massive waste of plastic since you have your own set of utensils at home. You’d end up throwing the plastic utensils in the garbage.

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When ordering take out, make sure to request the waiter or server to give you your packed meal minus the plastic cutlery. By doing this, you lessen that amount of plastic you have to throw out.

Another thing to stop collecting is the plastic water bottle. Invest in refillable water bottles, like tumblers or jugs, instead of buying ones that you’ll only use once and then throw out.

A single person who drinks water from a reusable container can save hundreds of plastic bottles from being produced annually. If a family of five chipped in as well, that would stop a little over 500 plastic bottles from being manufactured per year.

Avoid Buying Products That Contain Microbeads

Apart from the distinguishable plastic choices in the market, some products contain microplastics. Found in most cosmetics, microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters long.

The next time you go shopping for bath soaps and shampoos, find out which ones do not contain microplastics. They go straight down the drain and make their way into the ocean, where they harm marine wildlife.

Invest In Reusable Items

As was mentioned above, it would be beneficial to start drinking from reusable bottles. Well, why not invest in a whole set of reusables?

Bring your shopping bag so that you don’t have to take your groceries home in more plastic bags. Pack your to-go meals in glass containers instead of using Ziplock bags. Choose metal razors with replaceable blades over plastic ones that are discarded entirely after use.

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These are only a few goods that are effective plastic alternatives. There are a lot of other eco-friendly products that you can use. They’re sure to reduce your family’s plastic footprint!

Reuse Plastics You Already Own

Reducing one’s plastic use can go a long way. But let’s not forget that there are still the plastics that you already have at home. A lot of single-use plastics will have to be thrown out, but there are sure to be those that you can reuse.

Most plastic bottles and containers are for one-time use. They can be reused once or twice after being cleaned thoroughly. However, it is recommendable that they’re not used again for drinking and storing food. Commercial plastics may begin to degrade and ooze out harmful chemicals when they’re overused, especially when they’re under hot temperatures.

It might be harmful to eat or drink from industrial plastics, but there are other ways you can use them! Some art skills can transform a plastic water bottle into a pencil case. You can turn a carton of milk into a small flower pot. These are only a few examples of how to reuse plastic creatively.

Apart from plastic bottles and containers, there are also plastic bags. These are easy to acquire and store. As much as possible, don’t throw them out. You can reuse plastic bags for a lot of things within the household.

Recycle Unusable Plastics

Once you’ve set aside the plastics that you can reuse, all that’s left is to dispose of the ones that are unusable. When throwing out your garbage, make sure to segregate. Separate the plastics from the biodegradables. By doing this, waste management workers can dispose of them properly and more quickly.

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We wrongly dispose of too many plastic products because of incorrect segregation. Taking the time to sort your trash appropriately can help in alleviating this problem.

Again, plastic has its uses, but if you think about it, its harmful consequences outweigh its benefits. Given this, it’s high time we stop using it so much—for our sake and the entire planet’s.

The Advantages Of Eco-Friendly Products

We have come to the age where we don’t know life without innovation. We were born in it, got used to it, and gradually, our advancement is the main reason why our home is slowly dying. People have discovered all the things possible, from machines to construction to food to clothing to almost everything. We have used all the materials we can think of, and we have exhausted Mother Nature.

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How To Look For An Eco-Friendly Contractor

Is it your ultimate goal to renovate your house and make it as nature-friendly as possible?

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More than the green materials you can find to rebuild the unit, you should know that a regular contractor will not suffice for this job. He may ask for a price that is within your budget, yes. He may complete the task on time and follow the structural and architectural plans. However, if you do not visit the site daily and inspect every construction material or machinery that they use for the house, it is tough to guarantee that they are as eco-friendly as you want them to be.

To prevent ending up in that infuriating situation, you should know how to look for an environment-loving contractor.

  1. Do Your Research

Your initial task as the homeowner – the man or woman who will pay for the house renovation – is to conduct thorough research online on the likely candidates for this construction work. Nature-friendly contractors want to stand out of competition, for sure, so they will undoubtedly emphasize green products on their company description. Likewise, you may drive around your city one day and take note of the firms that offer eco-friendly services.

Considering you live in a small town where there are no green builders, you should ask friends or family members from nearby places if they can recommend any contractor to you. The benefit of coming to loved ones for guidance is that you can ascertain that they will not point you towards the wrong builder. You will then merely need to set an appointment with the contractors they suggested to know whether you’re fit to work on this project together or not.

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  1. Check Out Their Portfolio

As we’ve said previously, many construction companies have embraced the digital world. It is rare to find a firm that does not have a website of its own. After all, getting a client online tends to be faster than waiting for somebody to knock at his or her door.

On your part, it won’t hurt to use this opportunity to inspect the gallery section of the builders’ sites. It should contain most – if not all – of the pictures and videos of their work from start to finish. The more eco-friendly buildings and houses you notice there, the more it entails that that contractor may be the one you are looking for.

  1. Ask For A Quotation

The cost of building an eco-friendly house is generally higher compared to residences that make use of conventional equipment and materials. That is because constructing most parts of the home require manual labor to reduce carbon footprint. In case the walls are supposed to be created by packing clay and soil or stacking woods or plastic bottles with cement in them, for example, the workers need to spend hours on erecting one facet. If the entire house necessitates baking, they should do it as well.

To ensure that you still have money for food and other essentials while the renovation is going on, therefore, you ought to ask for a quotation from various builders from the start. Remember not to settle with one that offers the lowest pricing, especially when you are aware that the house you want is pricier than that. Look for a contract instead who has the most reasonable breakdown of expenses.

  1. Don’t Stick With The First One You’ll Meet

Last but not least, you should know better than to immediately hire the services of the first contractor that you will come across. Try not to get blind-sided by the fact that he seems nice and respectable. Avoid becoming lured so fast by the passionate way the person talks about the environment. Business owners have solid marketing skills too – they can build up their reliability and hook any potential customer with their words.

Before sealing the construction deal with someone, you should learn about several other contractors first. Set up a meeting with every green builder in and out of town, for instance, to find out how they do their work. If you still like the process mentioned by the initial contractor after all of that, then that’s the only time when you should employ his firm.

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Final Thoughts

Meeting an eco-friendly builder may not be as effortless as getting a conventional one to renovate your home. Nevertheless, more and more contractors are opening their eyes to the possibility of completing a construction project without too much carbon footprint. If you know what to look for, you should be able to find a contractor who has the same nature-friendly goals as you do.

How To Make Your House Eco-Friendly In 7 Easy Ways

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The real beauty of a house does not merely rely on the expensive drapes or paintings that adorn it inside. You cannot bank on the unique structure that people see outside either. Those can get dusty or break over time, and so they can no longer make your home interesting after a few years.

To allow the real beauty of your house to come out, to be honest, it should have fixtures that hardly go against the laws of nature. Taking advantage of nature also helps us with our mental health. As Dr. Miles Richardson wrote, “Just by being outdoors and using all our senses to appreciate nature, we can be more mindful of the present, gain emotional resilience, and combat stress with more vitality.”

They do not consume too much fossil fuels, for instance, or water does not get wasted because of them. Try any or all of the tips right below on how to make your residential space eco-friendly.

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  1. Get Solar Panels

The first thing you may consider getting is solar panels. These items can power up essential appliances at home, such as light bulbs, electric fans, or even the TV. You may also be able to recharge your gadgets using the energy that comes from the sun. That is a renewable source of energy, so you don’t have to worry about its supply ever depleting.  “If you own your office and have control over your energy selections, choose to get your energy from one of a growing number of renewable energy sources from solar power or windmills, for example-and install the most energy-efficient appliances,” says industrial-organizational and conservation psychologist Elise Amel, Ph.D.

  1. Insulate The Place

Most houses that do not have insulated walls require the use of an electric heater. When you turn the air conditioner on during the summer, the coolness may dissipate at once as well when it goes off, thus enabling you to keep it on for hours.

The only solution to this issue is insulating the entire place. Not only will heat or coldness linger in the rooms better, but you won’t have to consume an excessive amount of electrical energy too.

  1. Stay Smart In The Kitchen

It always seems incredible to imagine entering your kitchen and seeing the same hi-tech coffee maker that baristas use. They may even be a heatless stove there, a microwave, and an innovative refrigerator that has a voice-command system. For these appliances to work, though, you’ll need electricity, which will only flow into your home after burning fossil fuels. As much as possible, for that reason, use a coffee drip system and get a regular stovetop to cook and reheat foods so that you don’t leave much carbon footprint on Earth.

  1. Avoid Artificial Cleaning Solutions

Various cleaning products that are supposed to take away grime and dirt off your walls, countertops, and bathrooms are easy to buy in the market. The problem with these solutions, however, is that their ingredients consist of chemicals that pollute the water and the rest of the environment. Due to that, you may want to stick to natural cleaning products like sodium bicarbonate and vinegar.

  1. Use Paper-Based Items Only

Assuming you cannot stop buying straws, plastic cups, and plates for parties at home, it is advisable to get the paper-based versions of them. The latter, you see, can reduce into the soil and won’t stay on the face of the planet forever. When it comes to toilet papers or table napkins, feel free to obtain the recycled variety to further delve into the eco-friendly realm. There are currently cities that are banning plastic in their communities and psychologist Adriana Jakovcevic says, “The people who supported the policy most, they also say they do it for environmental reasons,” which is actually excellent.

  1. Install Real Plants Inside

If you want earthy tones in the house, you should not forget to decorate with living plants. They can absorb the carbon dioxide emitted there and give off oxygen, which is what human beings like us need to survive. Nonetheless, it is best to opt for plants that won’t immediately die if they do not always get sunlight.

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  1. Start A Compost

Finally, all the organic wastes you accumulate, e.g., food scraps, leftover meals, and fruit and vegetable peels, can decompose well if you make compost in your backyard. This pit lets you segregate your biodegradable wastes from the non-biodegradable ones effectively. Instead of having to freeze them to keep the scraps from smelling, you may throw them straight into the compost and wait for weeks until they turn into soil-like substance.

Are you ready to make your house eco-friendly?