Wellbeing & Climate Anxiety
Zero Carbon Guildford's Wellbeing Team are here to support you, whether you are just finding out about the Climate Crisis or whether you’re a seasoned activist. We focus on building individual and community resilience in a range of ways. We are committed, well trained practitioners who understand the severity and urgency of the Climate Crisis.
At Zero Carbon Guildford we acknowledge the need to balance education and engagement on climate and ecological collapse with how we address the emotions raised by learning more about the scale of these threats. Our brains have not evolved to properly confront existential crises of the magnitude of climate collapse, and we need to develop ways of coping with our psychological responses to these global threats.
Our Wellbeing Team will look to build support networks and strategies to help our community deal with climate anxiety and a sense of grief as we begin our journey of adaptation to a rapidly changing planet.
If you need support in dealing with emotions raised by the climate and ecological emergency, feelings of grief stress, or climate anxiety, get in touch with us at email@example.com, or read on below for ways in which we can help you manage these feelings.
Friday morning wellbeing session in ZERO
What Is Climate Anxiety?
The Climate Crisis understandably causes a variety of responses. We may feel a whole range of emotions including anxiety, grief, anger and hopelessness – as well as a sense of urgency, hope and purpose.
These are natural responses to coming to terms with our uncertain future, and facing up to what is happening can be an incredible motivator for change. Looking after our mental and emotional health is vital for surviving – and thriving – in this rapidly changing world. Building resilience is particularly important for activists who are prone to burnout. However, the Climate Crisis affects us all in many ways and our support is accessible to everyone - of all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities.
** (If you are experiencing mental health difficulties that are beyond our scope, we will signpost you on to people who can help).
What Does This Project Achieve?
What Problem Is This Addressing?
Most people have little comprehension of the magnitude of the crises we face. The nature of tipping points and feedback loops means that climate collapse could be quick and catastrophic.
As we learn the true extent of these threats, our brains - ill-equipped to process threats at this scale - respond by generating a range of emotions, many of which can be very unsettling and scary.
We believe that education and engagement on the climate & ecological emergency should be accompanied by a robust programme of climate anxiety and mental health coping practices, to enable individuals to properly process their emotions and respond to them in a positive, productive way to spur action.
Ecopsychology practitioners see humans and everything that makes up the non-human world, as part of one, interrelated whole. They believe that human suffering and the planetary emergency, are both caused by the loss humans have experienced over thousands of years, of ways to relate to the Earth in a manner that is respectful, loving and reciprocal.
As such, Ecopsychology practitioners facilitate a range of practices that guide people back to that ancient, lost connection. As participants engage, many begin to experience a shift from a sense of emptiness or ‘hole in the soul’, that is so prevalent in modern society. A new feeling of belonging, connection and wellbeing is often born, together with a deep love for the Earth and a desire to protect all Life from further destruction.
Mindfulness is a practice of self-awareness that enables us to experience each moment fully, without becoming so caught up in our busy minds. Practicing mindfulness regularly reduces stress, reconnects us to our bodies and enables us to be more resilient and responsive in these challenging times. We also experience increased connection to others and the rest of nature which contributes to a sense of renewed motivation and purpose. Practicing mindfulness as part of a supportive group encourages collective connection, resilience and growth. Studies show that a regular mindfulness practice has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-awareness and self-compassion, improve sleep, enhance mental clarity and improve relationships.
Forest Bathing & Nature Therapy
During a gentle, immersive walk in natural surroundings, your guide will invite you to ground yourself in your body and senses, inspiring opportunities to connect with nature. Many participants report feelings of deep relaxation, and learning new skills. The transformation of a group during a session can be beautiful to watch!
Forest Bathing originated in Japan and Korea and is an integral aspect of their governments’ preventative healthcare. Decades of research demonstrate how spending quality, immersive time slowing down in nature, can improve health, including blood pressure, heart rate variability, NK cells and concentration, along with self-reported reductions in depression and anxiety. Studies have shown some of these potential benefits are measurable for up to a month following a single two hour session.
Yoga & Mindful Movement
Movement is an important part of maintaining wellbeing. When practiced mindfully, Yoga can support both physical and mental health. It helps us to regulate our nervous systems and our response to stress.
It also improves our interoception (our internal awareness) so that we can become more self aware and look after ourselves better. Through reconnecting with our bodies, we are more able to connect with others and the rest of nature. As we build resilience, we can move towards contributing to positive change in a more active way.