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Having lived through a global pandemic, we’re all more than aware of how scary the news can get at times.

More recently, Liz Truss’s time as MP served up terrifying headlines for 44 days straight – a short stint, but more than enough to make us want to turn off our news notification for the rest of the year.

On a more serious note, one topic that has been creeping up on us for years is climate change.

As the issue gets more urgent, it jumps higher up the news agenda. The more protesters glue themselves to famous paintings or lie in the middle of the road, the more we think about why they might be so desperate to get our attention. The more David Attenborough urges us to take action – most recently in his “final” plea to save the world on BBC’s Frozen Planet – the more we realise that s**t might be getting real.

When the old saying ‘it’s not the end of the world’ can’t even step in to make things better, life can start to feel scary and surreal – leading to feelings of anxiety. ‘Climate anxiety’, to be exact.

Here’s how you can help yourself manage those feelings.

1.Remember, you are not alone

While it’s certainly important to remember that the climate crisis is a very real and urgent issue, it’s also important to realise that you are not alone with it.

There are nearly 8 billion other people on this planet, and if all those who are in a position to make changes do so, we can make a huge difference.

2.Tell yourself it isn’t too late, because that’s the truth

As Professor Alan Hubbard, a glaciologist who appeared on Frozen Planet, said: “The important thing is, I believe all these processes are reversible.”

Professor Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Principle Investigator of Ghost and Melt, added: “It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.”

Dr Hamish Pritchard, British Antarctic Survey, said: “The awareness and concern is greater now than it ever has been, so that gives us some hope.”

When feeling overwhelmed, that hope is something to hold onto, and use to motivate the final step…

3.Turn your negative feelings into positive action 

The reason climate anxiety can feel so overwhelming is as a result of the great sense of helplessness it can make you feel. But as all these professors and scientists have confirmed, this is far from the case, and there are many things we can do to save our planet.

Reducing your carbon footprint by creating a sustainable lifestyle is a start. Thinking more sensibly about the journeys we take and the food we eat, and thinking about what we need versus what we want will have a huge impact.

Prof Anandakrishnan pointed out how: “We’re right at the point where we can generate all the power that we need from renewable sources like solar and wind. To do that, you really need to transform society as a whole.”

Speak to your MPs –  make them reconsider energy policies and bring your concerns to the table.

Talking to friends and family about climate change will also make a huge impact – not just by encouraging others to make changes, but to alleviate your anxiety and enable you to see this as a collective effort.

Speaking on Frozen Planet, one man’s comment really hit home for me.

Aleqatsiaq Peary, an Inuit Hunter whose life in Greenland is melting around him, said: “If you can do something about it then do it, instead of just thinking about it. If you can do something about it, then do it.”

As David Attenborough pointed out: “We can do it.” And we all know David Attenborough would not lie to us.

But more importantly: “We must do it,” as he added.

You can find more information by visiting the UN, WHO or Greenpeace websites. If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety, the Samaritans helpline is open 24/7 and you can call 116 123 for free. Alternatively, head to the Samaritans, Mind, or NHS website.

Lorraine Lowe

Lorraine is a fully qualified and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with 35 years experience. She is also a a fully accredited member of The British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. (BABCP). I am fully registered member of the General Social Care council.

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