Updated: Apr 22, 2021
April 22nd is Earth Day and a chance to focus down on Climate Action and learn more.
Earth day invites us to pause and reflect on the situation in our natural world. It invites people to engage, to gain understanding & inspire you to take action, no matter how small, in caring for our planet.
Earth day might not speak to everyone.
Many people have become detached from the part they play in the natural world and so these concepts about caring for planet, can feel alien or fantasy.
In eco-psychology we explore re-connection with nature, where you may have disconnected.
Reintroducing yourself as part of the natural world, not only helps you to better understand the impact of climate change. In reconnecting with nature in this way, you begin to reap benefits in reducing stress, clearing out your busy head and even igniting creativity.
For those of you who hold an affinity with nature. A day like earth day might hold mixed feelings though.
Inspiring you on one hand to do more in the way of caring for your planet.
But the story isn't a pretty one and this may lead you to feeling over-whelmed, fearful and anxious.
For those of you akin with the value and beauty of nature. Climate Anxiety is now recognised as something that impacts our mental health. And might be something that you experience on a regular basis.
As you connect with concepts around Climate Crisis, Poverty, Natural Disasters and extinction threats. It's easy to feel worried about our future.
And, whether you experienced anxiety in the past, or this is your first real experience of panic and worry at this scale. You might begin to feel hopeless and helpless about how to handle this?
This can trigger an increase in your anxiousness and soon you might recognise a cycle of over-thinking and uneasiness, linked with your thoughts and feelings.
It's natural for our brain to react this way to the information you review.
Our mind is programme to aide and protect us, and it does this by responding to perceived "threats" with a big dose of hormones that get us ready to fight, flight, freeze or faint!
The news ( and the science) might be bleak. And to reduce your Climate Anxiety you can support yourself by allowing yourself to focus on the things you can do, the action you can take to a) reduce your fear and mamage your reeponse b) take inspired action to help.
“The positive thing from our perspective, as psychologists is that we soon realised the cure to climate anxiety is the same as the cure for climate change – action. It is about getting out and doing something that helps.
“Record and celebrate the changes you make. Nobody is too small. Make connections with other people and at the same time realise that you are not going to cure this problem on your own."
In our coaching in nature programmes we often work with people experiencing a range of anxiety and stress issues. Just like Kennedy-Williams says taking action is an essential part of achieving any change.
Being with and caring for nature can help to reduce your internal stress and anxiety.
Understanding your empathy and upset towards the natural worlds situation. That also gifts you the opportunity to understand more about your own self, your beliefs and where your values are aligned ( deep and meaningful change work).
Connection with self, with others, with purpose are create ripples and enable shifts. Action opens up possibilities to boost our own satisfaction and joy in life.
Whilst you might see yourself as small, or devalue your skills to make things different. I invite you to consider this quote by Carl Sagan, (American Astrophysicist)
"This cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself"
Instead of seeing yourself as insignificant, perhaps you might choose to recognise the vastness that flows through you, being art of a huge eco system in which our actions can always influence. The choice is your, it's just a matter of perspective, after all?
What will you do this earth day?
Find yourself a moment to pause and reflect, to breath in calm.
For inspiration on earth day, why not explore the 5 Pathways to nature connection.
We can learn a lot from nature and the time we spend connecting with nature can be beneficial to our health, wellbeing and supports pro-environmental behaviours ( doing things that are kinder for the planet)
For help with anxiety, get in touch to explore our coaching in nature packages delivered in West & North Yorkshire.