Global Warming And Mental Health: Is Eco-Anxiety Real?

Global warming and climate change are explored often in terms of how they impact our environment and ecosystem. However, it is not surprising that our mental health is also taking a hit because of the gradual negative changes in the biosphere.

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We feel uneasy watching natural disasters unfold through our television screens. Facebook posts or Tweets about polar bear displacement in the Arctic due to the melting ice caps horrify us. We dread each coming summer as it becomes hotter and hotter every year.

Because of both climate change and a pandemic, we cannot help but acknowledge the uncertainty of our future.

What Is Eco-Anxiety?

Eco-anxiety describes fear and helplessness caused by environmental and ecological dangers. It is very much an existing clinical mental condition despite not being in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The word ‘eco-anxiety’, also known as ‘eco-grief’ or ‘climate-anxiety’, re-emerged in 2005. The American Psychology Association (APA) recognizes it as the chronic fear of possible environmental doom.

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What Causes Eco-Anxiety?

Human actions have turned our planet into a massive oven.  Increasing temperatures mean extinction for species that cannot adapt. Anxiety in the face of this situation is a natural response. 

It is easy to feel helpless or even frustrated. As individuals, we cannot stop the planet’s destruction. Governments and large corporations also need to take steps in substantially reducing our carbon footprint.  

The media also contributes to eco-anxiety. The coverage of natural phenomena happening all over the globe can be overwhelming. Numerous articles on habitat destruction and even species extinctions also make headlines online. Our exposure to various media resources can contribute to unnecessary stress.

In a 2018 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, around 70% of Americans were aware of this global crisis – with the majority worried about the harm of climate change to their area. These effects include extreme heat, flooding, droughts, and water shortages. Similar results were still observed in a more recent poll by the APA in 2020. Many of the respondents even felt endangered by climate change. They also worried about how this can impact their mental health.

Aside from fear and anxiety, many who experience eco-anxiety also express guilt. Many feel guilty for being incapable of controlling global warming.

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Feelings of guilt are more prevalent among those who have children when contemplating the future. Andrew Bryant, a therapist from Tacoma, Washington, shared that a client of his had this same concern in 2016. His client was having a difficult time deciding on whether to have a child or not. Their partner wanted to have a baby. However, the client was too afraid to let the child grow up in an apocalyptic-like future.

Who Is Affected By Eco-Anxiety?

Everyone is susceptible to eco-anxiety. However, not everyone is affected equally. People who depend on climate or their environment can be more easily affected by eco-anxiety.

Those whose livelihood or homes are in danger zones experience anxiety. Natural disasters threaten their very survival. People who have survived calamities such as typhoons, hurricanes, and tsunamis, are also very vulnerable.

Eco-anxiety is common among individuals who feel a strong sense of responsibility towards our planet. Those with pre-existing mental health disorders might manifest eco-anxiety as well.

How Is Eco-Anxiety Being Managed? 

Resolving global warming and climate change requires governmental, corporal, and societal efforts. However, when managing eco-anxiety, the smallest steps can come a long way.

Personal management of eco-anxiety may include:

1. Taking positive action

Minimize your carbon footprint by practicing sustainable living and zero waste management. This can make you feel more accomplished and help in reducing your feelings of powerlessness.

2. Educating yourself and others

Learning more about the environment and becoming more informed can make you feel empowered. Sharing what you have learned with others also helps in raising awareness about global warming and mental health.

 3. Connecting with nature

Spending more time outdoors boosts your mood and helps you establish a personal connection with nature.

4. Improving self-resiliency

Increasing your emotional resilience is a demanding but necessary step in overcoming any mental health condition. Improving self-resiliency can be achieved through the following:

  • self-care
  • avoiding isolation
  • keeping supportive and encouraging relationships
  • creating goals and working towards them

5. Logging off

It is easy to be influenced by the information we get from different media platforms. Knowing when to disengage can help you decrease the stress you experience from consuming media.

 6. Seeking professional help

Getting professional help is still one of the best ways of handling any mental condition. Tips in managing anxiety are available online. However, mental health professionals can offer you a more personalized way of coping with it.

What Are The Responses To Eco-Anxiety?

Eco-anxiety was initially a topic of discomfort for mental health professionals. They lacked adequate training in this area. They didn’t know how to approach this topic objectively with their clients.

Climate-related stress and trauma cases have been increasing. Many mental health professionals have since incorporated eco-anxiety into their practice. They use eco-anxiety in ecopsychology. This is the branch of psychology dealing with the processes that connect and separate us from nature. It also tackles how these processes impact our identity and well-being.

Tree Staunton, a climate psychotherapist from Bath, England, has been advocating for the addition of climate change in the context of therapy. With these systemic changes in psychotherapy, we are positive to see more established management for eco-anxiety soon.

How Counseling Can Help You Change Your Lifestyle And Live Cleaner

Consuming consciously, living an eco-friendly lifestyle, and living purposefully: are goals that we have but can be very hard to achieve. Unfortunately, the fast-paced society we live in today, with its seemingly impossible demands, can leave us with no choice. But that does not mean you cannot come close to living the intentional lifestyle you want. If you often find it difficult to detach from societal expectations, changing your mindset, and letting go, you might find psychological counseling helpful. 

Aside from external factors, challenges in changing your lifestyle have a lot to do with your inner beliefs and past experiences. Most people find it hard to let go of their preconceived notions and try new ways of doing things. Seeking counseling makes you aware of your beliefs, how they affect you, and how to change or work around them. Specifically, the following are how counseling can help you change your lifestyle. 

Raising Self-Awareness

There is truth to the saying that change should start within yourself, but you cannot change what you cannot identify. Shifting to a new and cleaner lifestyle may require a similar shift in mindset, beliefs, and values. However, most of the time, we are not aware of our inner perspectives and set of values. This lack of knowledge can lead to discontinuity and dissatisfaction with lifestyle-changing steps you’re taking. With counseling, your counselor can walk you through discovering more of your inner self and how you affect the world around you.  

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Re-evaluating Choices

After awareness, counseling can help you re-evaluate the choices you make and your goals behind them. Your counseling sessions can help you realize and go back to why you do the things you do. Going back to your core intentions serves as your anchor and helps you focus on your track when things get tough. At the same time, your counselor can help you realize whether you want to make this shift in lifestyle and if you want it for the right reasons. 

Oftentimes, these beliefs stem out from childhood experiences or other past traumatic experiences that need resolving. While in other cases, it can be more serious – not being able to let go can be a cause of underlying mental conditions. Or, clinging onto things can be a normal human response to what we’ve been used to. It is normal to hold and put our values onto materialistic possessions or to a way of living. Counseling can be a first step in addressing these psychological issues by talking them out and creating concrete solutions with your counselor. 

Counseling can help you re-evaluate your worth channels, and you might find more value in the little and simple things. 

Becoming Free From Expectations 

A huge challenge we face in changing to a more eco-friendly lifestyle is social media and pressures from society. Social media, being a double-edged sword, can be helpful and harmful for our mental health. On the other hand, it inevitably influences our standards of how life should be and what we should consume, buy, and use. We see these almost impossible and sometimes senseless expectations, but trending is not necessarily right or suited for us. Yet, we tend to compare ourselves every time we indulge in every news feed or timeline. 

Counseling can help create the boundary between what’s on social media and what’s appropriate for you. Your counselor can help you find alternative ways to spend your time than going for hours on social media. But more importantly, counseling can help change your outlook towards social media and not value your worth and life. 

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Finding Peace

In almost everything, awareness is key. But sometimes, the more you’re aware, the more you feel paralyzed and overwhelmed. However, it does not mean that being aware in itself is wrong; it just means you need to ease up. Counseling sessions can be safe spaces for you to release your worries and honest opinions and thoughts. Even though we are dedicated to a goal, the steps toward it can be challenging, and you might feel like departing from it. However, you must let these tendencies breathe out because sometimes, it might just be what you need. 

Your counselor will work with you to find a solution for your problems. It can be a thought process that you can use every time an unhealthy or triggering situation or thinking arises. A counselor can also suggest new activities or hobbies you can try to help you relax. Your counselor can also suggest exercises, classes, or books that will train your emotional and mental stability. 

New Purpose 

From looking inwards and outwards, changing your mindset, and raising your awareness, counseling can help you in more ways. Besides helping you change towards a cleaner and better lifestyle, counseling might help you find a new purpose. As you proceed with counseling and discover more about yourself, it might come naturally for you to try something new. It can be something that you’ve always wanted to but never did because of fears or beliefs you previously had. Counseling can help you discover more strengths about yourself and appreciate yourself more. 

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Deciding to change your lifestyle is changing decade-olds practices, and anything established is hard to give up. However, going to the other side of doing things is not easy; that is why it’s alright to seek counseling and social support. Counseling can hold your hand as you transition and might even find better gems for you as you go through your journey. 

Pressure Points For Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions

 

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A lot of people have anxiety from time to time. You might have minor symptoms when confronted with a daunting or exhausting situation. You may also have more major, long-standing symptoms that disrupt your daily living, including restlessness, difficulty focusing, feelings of worry, fear, panic, irritability, sleep problems, headaches, and muscle tension.

Anxiety is commonly managed with medication, therapy, or a combination of these two. There are also several alternative methods, such as acupressure, which can help. Acupressure is a type of alternative Chinese medicine that offers temporary alleviation from anxiety. It is done by stimulating pressure points in the body, and it can be performed by you or with the assistance of a professional.

Studies On Acupressure For Anxiety

There is not much research about utilizing pressure points and acupressure to treat anxiety. However, experts are gradually looking at alternative remedies for anxiety. Most research that has been done has centered on pressure points for dealing with anxiety before going through a possible stressful experience or medical procedure instead of having anxiety. Most of the research is also relatively minor, although the outcomes are promising.

For instance, a series of small trials done in 2015 reviewing the effects of acupressure on anxiety symptoms revealed that acupressure appeared to help alleviate anxiety just before a medical procedure such as a medical operation.

Another trial composed of 85 subjects hospitalized for cancer management revealed that acupressure assisted in decreasing their anxiety. Additionally, a study done in 2016 examined 75 students with extreme menstrual pain. Acupressure done at certain pressure points during different menstrual cycles reduced anxiety symptoms in the participants at their third cycle’s culmination.

Again, bigger trials are required to completely comprehend the ways of using pressure points in managing anxiety. However, the current studies have not found any deleterious effects of its methods on anxiety, so it is probably worth trying if you are searching for a new approach.

Remember that these studies also state that acupressure seems to offer short-term – not permanent – relief from anxiety symptoms. Be sure that you continue doing the rest of your stress management therapies and other treatments ordered by your physician while doing acupressure.

Some of the pressure points include:

Hall of Impression Point. This point is located between the eyebrows. Putting pressure here is known to help reduce both stress and anxiety.

Shoulder WellPoint. The shoulder well point is right on your shoulder muscle. To locate it, you or a professional needs to pinch the shoulder muscle using the thumb or the middle finger. This pressure point is said to assist in alleviating headaches, muscle tension, and stress. It may also stimulate labor, so this can’t be used if you are pregnant.

Great Surge Pressure Point. This point is located on foot, about 2 or 3-finger breadths under the big and second toe’s juncture. The great surge pressure point is seen in the hollow just over the bone. It may aid in reducing stress and anxiety. It can also be used for insomnia, menstrual cramps, and pain.

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Here are frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers about pressure points for anxiety.

What pressure point relieves anxiety?

Yin Tang or pressure point extra-1 is situated at the midline just between the eyebrows. Performing acupressure in this area can help reduce anxiety and stress. Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Apply pressure on the specific point using your forefinger or thumb.

How can I stop anxiety immediately? 

Do these things if you want to stop feeling anxious fast:

  • Maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol.
  • Get sufficient amounts of sleep.
  • Do deep breathing.
  • Count silently and slowly.

What are the 5 pressure points? 

The five pressure points for improving sleep include:

  • Bubbling spring
  • Three yin intersection
  • Inner frontier gate
  • Wind pool
  • Spirit gate 

Where do you rub your feet for anxiety?

The surge pressure point is located on foot, about two or three fingerbreadths under the big and second toe intersection. This point is found in the area just over the bone. This pressure point helps decrease stress and anxiety.

What is the best massage for anxiety? 

The best type of massage for individuals looking for relaxation and relief from tension, stress, and pain is shiatsu. It is a Japanese form of massage that enhances physical and emotional relaxation and peace of mind. It also helps decrease anxiety and depression. 

What vitamins help with anxiety?

Vitamin D and B-complex are a great help in alleviating anxiety. Other supplements that are equally helpful include ashwagandha, l-theanine, magnesium, valerian, and omega-3. 

What deficiency causes anxiety? 

Some studies report vitamin D deficiency could be associated with anxiety disorders. This is further backed by a 2015 study that documented decreased calcidiol levels in individuals with depression or anxiety. Calcidiol is a derivative of a breakdown of vitamin D in the body.

What is a drug that calms you down? 

Benzodiazepines, also called sedatives or tranquilizers, are the most commonly recommended drugs for anxiety. 

What is the strongest anti-anxiety pill?

Benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam, and alprazolam, are the most widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications.

Does CBD help anxiety? 

CBD has been proven to reduce anxiety even at higher amounts. THC, on the other hand, reduces anxiety at decreased doses.

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When to Visit The Doctor

Although acupressure could offer some short-term alleviation from anxiety symptoms, there is little proof that it will benefit long-term anxiety.

If you believe that your symptoms are causing difficulty for you to go to school or work or disrupt your relationships, it might be suitable to consult your doctor or therapist.

You are to speak with your doctor or therapist if you begin experiencing digestive problems, suicidal thoughts, depressive feelings, headaches, sleeping problems, and panic attacks.

Conclusion

Acupressure can be an efficient tool for briefly alleviating anxiety symptoms, although there is insufficient evidence to back its use as a tool for permanent anxiety. Still, utilizing acupressure in situations where you’re anxious or stressed can definitely help.

Just be sure to continue with your current treatment plan ordered by your doctor and consult him or your therapist if your symptoms worsen or start disrupting your daily living.

 

 

Little Things You Can Do To Save The Turtles

I decided to attend the 2019 Save The Turtles Event after watching baby turtles go to the sea. They all looked so cute and precious, using their tiny legs to paddle across the sandy beach towards the water. Then, I saw the heartbreaking video of an old turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose, and it made me want to ensure that no marine animal would suffer like that again.

Here are a few things that you can do to save the turtles.

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Volunteer For Beach Clean-Ups

For starters, you may take part in clean-up drives at the beach. Put on a pair of gloves, get an empty garbage bag or sack, and start picking up any trash you see. Try not to leave anything behind to reduce the turtles’ chances of eating them.

Embrace Reusable Items

It is fortunate if your plastic straws, disposable bottles, and plastic bags end up in landfills. However, the reality is that most rubbish that you don’t dispose of properly go to bodies of water, which all lead to the sea. You may harm the marine animals because of that, so you should only use reusable items from this moment onwards.

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Keep The Beach Clutter-Free

Beach-goers always seem to want to build sandcastles or rest at lounge chairs as they take in the beautiful sea in front of them. The problem is, such things serve as clutter, especially if you go to the beach where the turtles are nesting. Thus, make sure to level the sand and take the chairs before leaving to prevent turning the baby turtles away.

Final Thoughts

Turtles are innocent living things that cannot protect themselves on their own. People need to lend them a hand by cleaning the beaches and not using non-biodegradable items daily. The more you keep on doing that, the more you can save turtles from extinction.

The Importance Of A Fresh And Clean Home (A Therapist Guide For Wellness)

All of us consider our home as the best place in the world. It is a shelter that holds us safe at warm nights. It is a place where we spend time with our family. It is our fortress and comfort zone. It is where our childhood memories file up and become an inspiration as we get older. It represents us with our morals, values, upbringing, and personality development. Those are enough reason for a therapist to probably remind us that a key to better wellness also needs to start at home. With that, keeping it fresh and clean is a must.

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There are plenty of ways to make our house clean and smell fantastic, even without spending too much money on deodorants and other chemicals. There are tons of natural things we can use. Here are some of the best tips that we should often try doing.

Tips And Guidelines

One of the great ways to make our whole house smell fresh and clean is through simmering. The process is so simple, and all we have to do is boil up some different aromatic and natural ingredients such as cinnamon, oranges, cloves, and vanilla extract. The concept of this procedure is filling up a vessel with half water and brings everything into a boil. Or depending on our preference, we can use a slow cooker, let everything sit all day, and let it simmer. The effect of simmered natural ingredients does not only provide an aromatic scent in our house but also creates a therapeutic effect.

It is no secret that coffee helps cleanse your appetite, but that is not the only thing it can do. Coffee grinds can help deodorize any space in our home. All we got to do is put it in a bowl or a small open-air jar container, and place it anywhere that needs deodorizing. It could be in our drawers, closet, shoe racks, and so on. Just leave it there, and the coffee grind will start doing its magic by absorbing all of that unwanted smell. But take note, we have to change it out reasonably regularly because coffee grinds eventually dry out.

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In case our house is prone to tobacco smoke, clearing out its smell will probably take some time. That is because the residue of the chemicals in it can stay up long in our walls and furniture. But do not fret. We can end up putting bowls filled with white vinegar. No, the house will not smell like vinegar at all, but instead, it will absorb all of the odors from the tobacco. Fortunately, this works not only for tobacco smokes but on any other sort of unpleasant smell in the house. We can put some of it in our kitty litter, use it while we are cooking, and put some drops in our trash bins. It is one of the most convenient ways of removing any strong odors we don’t like.

If you love vanilla extract, you have to take advantage of its aromatic effect. Putting it inside our fridge will create a lasting impact. Now, there are two things we can do. First is wiping the plastic interior parts of the refrigerator with a little bit of vanilla extract using a paper towel. It will neutralize odors. And since plastic is porous, the aromatic scent will surely stick into it. Or if we want, we use a couple of pieces of cotton balls soaked with vanilla extract. We can leave it in a bowl with an open-air inside the fridge somewhere. It will help neutralize odors as well.

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A lot of us are fans of essential oils, and we use it whenever and wherever we can. That is because it deodorizes and spruces up any space in our house. Using it is quite simple to do. We can add essential oils in diffusers, and it will work like magic. It requires no effort at all. Not only essential oils freshen up our house by dispersing its smell, but also impact us as well. That is due to its effect in reducing stress and anxiety. So there is entirely no reason not to drop a couple of it in spots of the house we usually find comfortable such as our bed and the couch.

There are other couples of things we can do to freshen up our house and allow a great smell in it. These are only some of the few things that we might want to consider.