How To Manage Climate Anxiety: Practical Steps & Resources

How To Manage Climate Anxiety: Practical Steps & Resources

Rising temperatures, sea levels, and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as increased frequency of natural disasters and other extreme weather events across the globe represent key indicators for both the severity and urgency of our current climate crisis.  While media dialogue often focuses on the business and political impacts of this emergency, fewer sources give attention to the equally if not more dangerous mental health effects of the crisis.

How the Climate Crisis is Contributing to a Rise in Global Eco-Anxiety

“Ecoanxiety: A chronic fear of environmental doom”;

A simple yet staggering definition from the American Psychological Association.  

From a biopsychosocial perspective, it is understood that natural disasters and other geophysical events can contribute to vulnerabilities in individual well-being and overall community health. For example, most adults report experiencing some level of ecoanxiety, and almost half of individuals between age 18 and 34 report being affected daily by the stress of climate change.

While experiences of climate anxiety are unique and deeply personal, some common threads of thought include feeling like one’s actions are not contributing enough to make a difference, and feeling small amid the widespread, rippling effects of climate destruction. This might lead us to want to retreat, isolate, and allow our negative thoughts and feelings to spiral.

It makes sense that we feel this way. Fear of mortality and feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness are intrinsic to the human experience. They are uncomfortable emotions that we often want to push below the surface and avoid. However, our current climate crisis is a relentless phenomenon that is forcing us to face this deep-rooted, innate discomfort and fear of the unknown head-on. Yet it threatens our senses of safety and comfort to the very core. Naturally, it also has very real effects on our mental well-being as we grapple with how we as a society played, and still play, a part in creating this mess.

So what do we do?

Connection and Community

Existential dread can be a uniting force. One way to combat feelings of powerlessness is through connection with your community. Begin to engage in climate dialogue by participating in climate conversations.

The All We Can Save project hosts virtual circles that discuss how to navigate the climate crisis ( You can even sign up to lead your own circle.

Attending a support group is another great option to find comfort and facilitate connection amid fear. A few options for this include offerings from Waterspirit ( and Climate Awakening (

Finally, consider advocating with others for the expansion of local infrastructure supporting community mental health in the wake of rising ecoanxiety.

Emotional Exploration

Maybe you are feeling grief, sadness, shame, or guilt, for the seemingly irreversible damage already committed to our planet. Maybe you feel angry and confused toward society on the whole. Maybe you are consumed by worry and fear about the fate of humans, wildlife, and our planet. Individual therapy can help you process climate anxiety and how it shows up in your life. Mental health therapists can help you develop coping strategies and self-regulation skills to manage your anxiety more effectively. Further, they will provide encouragement and validation as you work to find meaning in what you can control. If you would like to set up an appointment with a therapist today, please visit our practice’s website at

Gratitude and Grounding

Consider practicing mindfulness as part of your healing process. This can foster greater self-awareness, self-compassion, meaning, connection to nature, and gratitude for its provisions. You can find a mindfulness meditation focused on gratitude and connection with nature here and a meditation script for finding purpose in what we can control here.

Personal Power

Growing your knowledge base as well as advocating for climate justice through individual and community action can build resilience and increase your sense of personal power. Throughout this process, it is important to take note of which communities are the most vulnerable to climate change. The APA has identified some of these populations: those whose livelihood is dependent on the natural environment (e.g. agricultural workers), populations with fewer physical or financial resources (e.g. individuals with chronic illness or disability, individual with low socioeconomic status), indigenous communities, and other minoritized communities. Below is a list of resources to cultivate a greater understanding of the current climate crisis:

Resources for Managing Climate Anxiety



Instagram Accounts:

Practical Steps to Mitigate Climate Change & Climate Anxiety

You can also take practical action by adjusting your lifestyle choices and advocating within your community. Below are a few changes to consider:

  • Shift your method of daily transportation. You can do this by driving an electric vehicle, carpooling, walking, biking, or using public transportation.
  • Adjust your diet by eating less red meat or eating more vegan or vegetarian meals.
  • Utilize renewable sources such as solar panels.
  • Participate in local recycling programs.
  • Petition for community change and investment in climate-focused infrastructure by writing to elected officials.

*Please offer yourself compassion if you do not have access to the resources to make these lifestyle choices. The public often places significant responsibility on the individual to make expensive and impractical changes. This list is not meant to place responsibility or invoke shame, but rather to offer options if one is in a position to act on them.

From this article, take what feels best for you and leave the rest. There are many ways to process and fight climate anxiety, but the most important piece to begin with is acknowledging its presence. From there, you can take steps to foster connection and community, build resilience and personal power, and ultimately find meaning within the chaos.  

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