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Eco-anxiety: How does the human mind deal with existential threats? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Existential Angst And Our Future

Existential Angst And Our Future
  • We are increasingly faced with global issues related to politics, climate change, war, and other existential threats.
  • The normal tendency is to worry endlessly and repeatedly think about things that have happened, which can lead to depression.
  • The troubling fact is that if the threat is massive, we feel helpless and end up thinking more about the same.

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Eco-anxiety: How does the human mind deal with existential threats? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Eco-anxiety: How does the human mind deal with existential threats? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/eco-anxiety-how-does-the-human-mind-deal-with-existential-threats/

sciencefocus.com

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Key Ideas

Existential Angst And Our Future

  • We are increasingly faced with global issues related to politics, climate change, war, and other existential threats.
  • The normal tendency is to worry endlessly and repeatedly think about things that have happened, which can lead to depression.
  • The troubling fact is that if the threat is massive, we feel helpless and end up thinking more about the same.

Anxiety Due To Climate Change

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines Eco-Anxiety as a mental health issue due to climate change. This and other existential threats are processed in the anterior cingulate cortex(ACC), a region of our brain that is also responsible for our behaviour.

Eco-Anxiety cannot be treated as it is not a specific mental health problem (yet), and we need to calm our mind by taking affirmative action. We need to concentrate on what can be controlled, taking step-by-step action, no matter how small it is, like recycling or buying second-hand, to minimize our environmental impact on the planet.

Steps To Overcome Eco-Anxiety

  • Restrict our news consumption.
  • Spend more time with nature
  • Read a diverse range of material.
  • Spend time with friends and loved ones.
  • Be aware of the effects of constant worry on your health.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Sleep well.
  • Get adequate exercise.

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  • In 1968, a study found a direct correlation between time spent watching television and the likelihood that the watcher will perceive the world more dangerous. Viewers who watch violent television shows generally believe violence is common in reality.

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While we may understand what needs to be done to address climate change, it’s hard for us to see how the sacrifices required for generations existing beyond this short time span are worth it.

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We now face risks we can’t easily analyze

Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.

Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.

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