Climate anxiety may take place due to fears about climate related weather events affecting us, concerns about future threats, climate change impacts in other places around the globe, or even in response to existential threats to civilisation in general.
Common emotions we may feel include fear, anger, guilt, shame, grief, loss or helplessness.
Coping with the emotions we experience in response to climate change is very important so we can stay engaged with issues and reduce the impact these emotions can cause in our everyday lives.
Different strategies for coping with climate anxiety work for different people. This might include managing upsetting feelings that arise within us or using our relationships, emotions or ways of thinking to help us cope. It’s important to identify what strategies work for you in order to create healthy habits.
No matter what kind of stress or anxiety you’re experiencing, mindfulness is always a good idea and can be helpful when we are overcome by climate anxiety.
Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment by taking time out from other stimulation and noticing our thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgement. Some techniques include:
If you need further support, there are a number of professional services that can help. Check the Caring for your mental health section at the bottom of this page for more information.
Remember every action we take adds up in a powerful, collective movement. If you’re feeling upset by the impacts of climate change, taking action – from simple, one-off actions on your own to participating deeply in social movements – can be empowering for you and those around you.
There are a number of actions you can take:
Conversations are a powerful way to connect with your community, join the dots between the climate crisis and the big polluters and talk about action we can take together for a safe future.
Chatting with a trusted person who shares your values and concerns, or helping to educate people who might not know much about the issue, can help break things down and relieve stress. Remember, it’s important to spend social time with those who share your values, as well as those who fulfil other interest areas in your life.
Here are some ways you can connect with others:
Remember, your feelings are justified and valid and it is okay to feel stressed about climate change.
Positive experiences and emotions are important for motivating yourself (and others) in the long term so remember to also think about and discuss the positive reasons you are passionate about this issue, such as the beautiful natural world, the incredible intricacies of ecosystems or the allure of Australia's unique native flora and fauna.
By focusing on the solutions and positive news, you’ll be able to support a shift in your mindset and outlook. If we adjust unhelpful thinking patterns, we can start to create a more positive mindset.
This may include:
If possible, take a break or try to pivot your focus slightly when overwhelming feelings around climate change arise.
Some examples of this are:
If you need to talk to someone, there are a range of mental health organisations that provide professional phone and online counselling 24/7, free of charge.
They also provide lots of online resources and can put you in touch with additional help and services:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
beyondblue on 1300 224 636
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
Headspace on 1800 650 890
QLife on 1800 184 527