By Jen Pleasants, Author of Bag Green Guilt, Five Easy Steps: Turn Eco-Anxiety Into Constructive Energy
Do you get a pit in your stomach when anyone mentions the oil spill in the Gulf? That’s eco-anxiety and it isn’t good for you or the planet. If I let myself, I would ball up in a fetal position just thinking about those sea turtles on fire as BP tries to burn off the oil. I am angry at BP for their carelessness, angry at myself for our dependence on oil, worried about the sea life, concerned for the livelihoods of the gulf residents and frustrated with how to change the situation. What is a girl to do with these toxic emotions? As the author of a book on how to turn eco-anxiety into constructive energy, I can share with you what I am doing to feel better to keep my own anxiety from increasing as oil gushes, glaciers melt and plastic soups swirl.
1. Breathe – take a BIG deep breath, now exhale! Breathing it turns out, is super important to help calm your nervous system and to relieve anxiety. Click here for breathing techniques to help you relax.
2. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything. Affirm that you can do something. You know it is true, but remind yourself, seriously, that you can’t do everything, but you can do some things, and that’s good enough. Acknowledge! Yet affirm that you can do something. Positive affirmations and visualizations are valuable tools to help create a better reality.
My friend Sandy at PeacefulDaily shared with me this amazing affirmation from world renowned Japanese Scientist Dr. Emoto and I am trying to say it daily to create positive change.
“We are not powerless we are powerful. Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily…multiple times daily…can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don’t have to know how…we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any other power active in the Universe today.”
“I send the energy of love and gratitude to the waters and all living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, planktons, corals, algae … to ALL living creatures… I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You.”
Click here for more feel good affirmations.
3. Write down all (or just some) of the things that make you feel eco-anxious or guilty with regard to the oil spill. Click here to write on the wall of guilt.
4. Act – pick one thing to do that will help the environment that you aren’t already doing and start doing that one thing this week. Doing one thing well is much better then doing eight things poorly.
Did you know that when you stop buying plastics you help stop our reliance on oil? Check out this list from GOOD, which contains a list of things you didn’t know contained oil, or this list by the Daily Green, titled “7 Ways to Help with the Oil Spill.” Finally, click here for ideas on actions you can take to help ease other kinds of eco-anxiety.
5. Praise – make a mental note to say something positive to yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your company or your country whenever a step is taken in the right direction.
For more inspiration check out the book, Bag Green Guilt, Five Easy Steps: Turn Eco-Anxiety Into Constructive Energy, which is available at Amazon.com.
*Author provided tips and image for this article.*