No way am I qualified to administer psychological advice beyond interpretation of my own experience, but kickstarting my ecological conscience has delivered genuine comfort to my mental health.
If that sounds like bollocks, well I’m not forcing you to read it and I receive nothing for writing it. This is something I have no reason to embellish, and every reason to share in our modern civilisation of global warming and suicide epidemics. Do you sometimes feel bad for being a human being? Feel depressed thinking about how badly we've fucked things up as a species? Take it from me that you can give yourself a break from these things by choosing to contribute to the solution.
I've discussed the relationship between our mental health and the environment before: it fascinates me that the changing natural world can be a cause of great fear, fear which is then alleviated when immersed in the very same natural world. Paradoxical, no?
Here's a really simple way to break down mental health: depression is sadness about the past, anxiety is sadness about the future. Well for me, at 26, even born into the most fortunate of circumstances that could ever be wished for, the future just doesn't look so bright. Or perhaps the issue is that it’s too bright? It was forty degrees today, and we're eighteen days into ‘Autumn’. It doesn't matter who or where you are; this planet will be a radically different place to inhabit in a very short time.
I find it difficult not to fear the potential challenges of the world considering our currently self-propelled trajectory toward the full effects of an Earth whose climate we have changed. Don't you? Ecoanxiety is as legitimate a source of sadness for me - and I'm sure others - than anything else, which I identify as a reason for our collective inertness. Considering a scary future and the impending changes is uncomfortable, and we just hate to be uncomfortable, don't we!
But it is only through doing things what we don't enjoy that we find out what we do enjoy. Right? So as much as finding out the awful realities of the planet can be unpleasant, living responsibly can be - in equal measure - a wonderful thing. Ask yourself if you really do as much as you possibly can to prioritise sustainability. Is the answer actually no? Well, that may be simply out of rational and well-justified despair, and I encourage you that peace of mind may in fact lie in the problem.
How good do you feel when you remember your keepcup, or run out of plastic bags from your stash at home! There is nothing wrong with taking pride in environmental choices, it’s a nice feeling that you only get to experience by committing to environmentally-motivated action. Don't get me wrong, I stuff up all the time, but it feels good to do the right thing.