By Amanda Sheffield Morris and Jennifer Hays-Grudo
Parents are dealing with huge demands on their time and energy. Children may not be attending school or involved in regular activities. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on families, routines have collapsed, patience is wearing thin and self-care is a distant memory.
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Therapeutic riding as occupational therapy, dogs visiting children with learning disabilities in school or hens spending time with seniors in elderly homes – so called animal-assisted interventions are manifold.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson
The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.
By Ellen Furlong
On Jan. 24 the White House welcomed two new residents: Champ and Major, the newly minted first dogs of the United States. The first dogs are poised to offer special benefits to workers in the White House.
Promoting Well-Being<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzNjM4OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NDQxNTg1MX0.3wAaMwHIdVaRh9cIyfTesDpQMK0Pwg9nyUNCtfuTuCU/img.jpg?width=980" id="443d8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4cb3d440ff15ab78cd8309e1ca58050f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1120" data-height="746" />
Presidential pup Major Biden stretches his legs on the White House lawn. Adam Schultz / Official White House photo<p>These benefits explain why many workplaces – from <a href="https://thebark.com/content/barks-directory-best-dog-friendly-companies" target="_blank">Amazon to Zygna</a> – have begun welcoming dogs into their offices. Recent research suggests that dogs in the workplace can lead to <a href="http://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00138" target="_blank">increased worker engagement, lower employee turnover</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0021943605277399" target="_blank">greater work satisfaction</a> and even enhanced employee <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010089" target="_blank">cohesion and communication</a>.</p><p><span></span>The Oval Office, the site of momentous decisions, enormous stress and complex social dynamics, may benefit from dogs even more than typical workplaces. After all, stress can compromise <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.02.003" target="_blank">decision-making</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051117174336.htm" target="_blank">problem-solving abilities</a>. Pets can alleviate stress, however, dampening these effects and leading to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1161/hyp.38.4.815" target="_blank">improved performance on difficult tasks</a>.</p><p>Not only do people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2019.1550280" target="_blank">report feeling less workplace stress around dogs</a>, but their very bodies tend to support this claim. A growing area of research suggests human <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-013-9546-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">heart rates slow, levels of the stress hormone cortisol shrink</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.5694/j.1326-5377.1992.tb137178.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">blood pressure decreases</a> when people hang out with dogs. Interestingly, the positive effects of pups on stress levels exceed that of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000024236.11538.41" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">even a close friend or family member</a>: A dog will reduce your stress more than your spouse or best friend will. After all, dogs are <a href="https://theconversation.com/your-dogs-nose-knows-no-bounds-and-neither-does-its-love-for-you-148484" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">naturally inclined to love you unconditionally</a> and will never find fault with the way you slurp your soup.</p><p>Dogs may reduce stress because they <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-right-balance/201804/how-dogs-drive-emotional-well-being" target="_blank">provide social support</a>. You may feel supported by your pooch, in part, because of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1261022" target="_blank">oxytocin feedback loop between humans and dogs</a>. Oxytocin, a hormone involved in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00427-5" target="_blank">promoting social bonds</a>, is released in both dogs and humans when <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dog-gazes-hijack-brains-maternal-bonding-system-180955019" target="_blank">gazing into each other's eyes</a>.</p><p>People report <a href="https://doi.org/10.2752/089279306785593928" target="_blank">improved mood</a>, <a href="https://news.ubc.ca/2018/03/12/sit-stay-heal-study-finds-therapy-dogs-help-stressed-university-students/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increased happiness and greater energy levels</a> around dogs. And, on the flip side, they enjoy reduced feelings of <a href="https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/How-Dogs-Can-Help-with-Depression" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depression</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2007.11.007" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">loneliness</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024506" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">negativity</a> when dogs are present.</p>
Creating Connection<p>Given dogs' skill at providing these supports and boosting mood, it may not surprise you to learn they work their magic not only one on one, but also in group settings. In the presence of a dog, people in groups have <a href="https://doi.org/10.2752/089279304785643203" target="_blank">better social interactions, engage in more conversations</a> and are more likely to form <a href="http://doi.org/10.1163/156853007X169333" target="_blank">long-term friendships</a> with one another.</p>
President Clinton and President Chirac of France showing Buddy some love in 1999. National Archives and Records Administration<p>The effects of dogs as social lubricants can go further: Dogs even foster development of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1348/000712600161673" target="_blank">social support networks</a> among their humans, leading to a sense of community, and more social interactions between people in their vicinity. These engagements offer opportunities for even more social support in high-stress environments. And perhaps most importantly, <a href="https://doi.org/10.2752/175303708X371564" target="_blank">people are more likely to offer help</a> when a dog is present.</p><p>Having Champ and Major in the White House may help President Biden and his staff navigate the stresses and tensions of the current political landscape. Beyond "indogurations," tweets and cute photo ops, Champ and Major will offer physical, psychological and social benefits in the Oval Office.</p><p>In short, pets (<a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-being-cat-lover" target="_blank">yes, cats too!</a>) improve the quality of life in almost every context – including presidential ones. Perhaps they can, even in a small way, play a role in uniting a divided country. After all, personal politics aside, isn't it comforting to know there will be paws pattering around the White House again?</p><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ellen-furlong-1165354" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ellen Furlong</a> is an associate professor of Psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University.</em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Ellen Furlong has written for Audible / The Great Courses. She has received funding from The National Institute of Health. She is a member of The Animal Behavior Society, The Comparative Cognition Society, The American Psychological Association, and The Society for Teaching of Psychology.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-bidens-dogs-could-make-the-oval-office-a-workplace-with-less-stress-and-better-decision-making-153406" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>
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By Alisha Moopen
As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gains strength in many parts of the world, it is evident that the old normal has slipped, and a new sense of normalcy is setting in. This has been evident with the arrival of the work-from-home, study-from-home and socialize-from-home model, whenever possible.
The effects of COVID-19 on workers' lives. Ipsos-World Economic Forum
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Essential oils have many health benefits, but anxiety management is where they really shine.
What Are Essential Oils?<p>Essential oils are extracted from the roots, stems, flowers, leaves, and bark of certain plants.</p><p>Their therapeutic compounds can promote relaxation, improve mood, reduce anxiety, and ameliorate depression.</p>
How Essential Oils May Help Anxiety<p>Most compounds have to be digested or injected in order to enter the bloodstream.</p><p>However, the phytochemicals in essential oils, like linalool and linalyl acetate, are small enough to pass through the skin and nasal cavities.</p><p>From there, they can readily travel across the blood-brain barrier to potentially relieve anxiety.</p><p>People with anxiety often have concurrent digestive issues that inhibit nutrient absorption, making essential oils an especially valuable treatment.</p>
How to Use Essential Oils for Anxiety<p>Essential oils can be ingested, applied topically, or inhaled.</p><p>Aromatherapy massage, however, can provide particularly fast-acting relief.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18753801" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 study</a> found that aromatherapy hand massages with a blend of bergamot, lavender, and frankincense can effectively reduce anxiety, pain, and depression in hospice patients better than regular massage alone. The essential oil blend contained a 1.5 percent dilution of essential oils, using sweet almond oil as a carrier oil. </p><p>Carrier oils like almond, coconut, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/how-is-hemp-oil-made/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hemp seed oil</a> can spread the essential oil across a wider surface area and extend its aromatic effects.</p><p>However, oral lavender oil can be effective as well.</p><p>A 2009 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19382124" target="_blank"><em>Human Psychopharmacology</em></a> found that oral lavender oil capsules can reduce anxiety in participants watching stressful film clips.</p>
4 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety<p>Essential oils can reduce stress hormone production and boost calming neurotransmitters.</p><p>Here's a closer look at the four best essential oils for anxiety:</p><p><strong>1. Lavender</strong></p><p>Lavender is the queen of anti-anxiety oils, and there's a mountain of evidence to prove it.</p><p>Over the years, lavender essential oil has been studied as a treatment for wounds, burns, and seizures, but recent research suggests that it may also have potent anti-anxiety, mood stabilizing, and sedative effects.</p><p>It can also be consumed as a lavender tea.</p><p>Here's what the research as to say about lavender essential oil for anxiety:</p><ul><li>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2013 meta-analysis</a>, lavender may promote the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and reduce glutamate, which tends to be overactive in anxious individuals. </li><li>A 2012 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22402245/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytomedicine</em></a> found that lavender may reduce anxiety by acting on acetylcholine: the primary neurotransmitter involved with higher thinking. </li><li>Inhaled <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12112282/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lavender may target the limbic system</a> by targeting the hippocampus and amygdala: the emotional center of the brain.</li><li><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Animal studies</a> show that inhaled lavender can reduce cortisol: the main hormone linked to chronic stress and anxiety. </li><li>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24456909" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 human study</a>, researchers determined that oral lavender oil can outperform the prescription anxiolytic paroxetine in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).</li></ul><p>Although the FDA <em>does not</em> officially recognize lavender oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5437114/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">European Medicines Agency</a> (EMA) does.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Recent research</a> shows that lavender oil may also reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and slow heart rate.</p><p><strong>2. Bergamot</strong></p><p>Bergamot is another widely-researched essential oil that may reduce anxiety, pain, stress, and inflammation.</p><p>According to a 2011 rodent study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105176" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytotherapy Research</em></a>, "Both BEO [bergamot essential oil] and diazepam [prescription medication] exhibited anxiolytic-like behaviors and attenuated HPA axis activity by reducing the corticosterone response to stress.</p><p>In other words, bergamot treated stress and anxiety by calming the stress response.</p><p>Human studies are also promising.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434918/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 pilot study</a> found that bergamot oil aromatherapy can enhance positive feelings in the waiting room of a mental health treatment center.</p><p><strong>3. Rose</strong></p><p>Studies show that rose essential oil may balance hormones, reduce stress, and treat anxiety.</p><p>Here's what the research has to say about the health benefits of rose essential oil:</p><ul><li>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17693981" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2007 Japanese study</a>, rose oil aromatherapy effectively reduced cortisol levels in both female and male volunteers. Plus, it decreased testosterone in women but had no effect on testosterone in men.</li><li>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111093/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 clinical trial</a>, patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment may experience reduced anxiety with rose oil aromatherapy. </li><li>On a similar note, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5511972/#B23" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 study</a> indicates that inhaling rose oil may increase feelings of comfort by inhibiting neurotransmitter activity in the prefrontal cortex. </li><li>According to another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270653/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 study</a>, rose oil foot baths can be significantly more effective at reducing anxiety than regular foot baths.</li></ul><p>Rose essential oil also contains eugenol: one of the strongest antioxidants in the world.</p><p><strong>4. Chamomile</strong></p><p>Chamomile tea is widely used as a natural sleep aid, and that's because the plant contains several therapeutic phytochemicals, including the soothing compound chamazulene.</p><p>These properties also make chamomile well-suited for reducing stress and anxiety.</p><p>Both chamomile aromatherapy and oral chamomile appear to be equally effective.</p><p>In one <a href="https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/040310.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2009 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study</a>, researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested the effects of oral chamomile capsules on 57 patients with mild generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).</p><p>Compared to the placebo, participants experienced a statistically significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.</p><p>According to the study's authors, "These results suggest that chamomile may have modest benefits for some people with mild to moderate GAD."</p><p>At the same time, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428160/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2013 aromatherapy study</a> found a significant difference in the anxiety scores between the chamomile group and the control group.</p><p>To top it all off, chamomile contains several terpenes and flavonoids that may treat gastrointestinal inflammation and reduce pain.</p>
What to Know Before Using Essential Oils for Anxiety<p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428160/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Other anti-anxiety oils</a> to check out include, sage, frankincense, geranium, and orange oil.</p><p>It's also a good notion to never ingest essential oils without first making sure they're food-grade. Many oils are manufactured with synthetic perfumes that can upset and irritate the stomach.</p><p>If you have a history of serious medical conditions or are currently taking prescription drugs, make sure to consult a specialist before adding essential oils to your regular health practice.</p><p>All in all, many people have found aromatherapy and other essential oil applications to be very beneficial in the reduction of anxiety — and you might too.</p><p><em>Justin Fowler-Lindner, a former EMT turned freelance writer, spends his days popping supplements and soaking up the sun in tropical destinations around the world.</em></p>
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The holidays can be overwhelming for many people. With shopping lists to check off, holiday dinners to cook and visitors to make room for, it's usually an eventful time of year. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, herbal supplements help you stay calm, cool and collected. Whether you're trying to avoid the in-laws or learning how to make a new meal for the first time, you can stay prepared with the best herbs for stress.
Holiday Stress, Cortisol and You<p>While the holiday season is a cheerful time to spend with friends and family, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. With all of the added pressure related to finances, traveling and family commitments, your health can suffer.</p><p>Ultimately, the body ends up produces too many stress hormones, which elevates blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. At the same time, glucose is released into the bloodstream, digestion slows and the immune system becomes suppressed. Over time, this can lead to increased anxiety, hormone imbalances, sickness and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-ways-to-restore-gut-health/" target="_blank">gut health issues</a>.</p><p>In the end, many of these complications are linked to cortisol, whose job it is to regulate several essential functions, including:</p><ul><li>Keeping you alert</li><li>Preventing brain fog</li><li>Reducing inflammation</li><li>Promoting healing</li><li>Burning fat for energy</li><li>Controlling blood pressure</li><li>Supporting memory</li></ul><p>With cortisol levels out of control, it's easy to see how holiday stress can make you feel scattered, tired and overwhelmed. Luckily, the right herbs for stress may offer you some relief.</p>
9 Herbs for Holiday Stress<p>Many of the best herbs for stress are adaptogens, which reduce cortisol, normalize bacteria levels and affect stress in a variety of ways. Others are familiar teas and essential oils that work to calm the mind and body.</p><p>The best herbs to reduce holiday stress are:</p><p><strong>1. Ashwagandha</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-ashwagandha-supplements/" target="_blank">Ashwagandha</a> has been widely studied for its effects on stress tolerance and cortisol production.</p><p>In one 2012 human study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine</em></a>, 64 test adults with a history of chronic stress were treated with either ashwagandha extract or a placebo for 60 days. According to the study's authors, "The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration of full-spectrum <em>Ashwagandha</em> root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life."</p><p>This herbal supplement can also help with <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/natural-stress-relief/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chronic stress</a>, which if left untreated can lead to hormone imbalances throughout the body, including the thyroid. A <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2017.0183" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018 human study</a> found that supplementing with ashwagandha for eight weeks can help regulate thyroid levels in patients with underactive thyroids.</p><p>To top it all off, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880208209083282" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">animal studies</a> show that ashwagandha can prevent weight gain due to chronic stress, as well as prevent stress-related gastric ulcers. </p><p><strong>2. Astragalus Root</strong></p><p>Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb that's been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to support the immune system and guard against stress. Now, modern research is beginning to support these claims.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282615" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2005 animal study</a> found that astragalus root can decrease stress hormones and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/cbd-oil-for-inflammation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce inflammation</a> in piglets. At the same time, a 2019 study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745106/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine</em></a> found that astragalus root can boost antioxidant levels and support immunity in sheep.</p><p><strong>3. Chamomile</strong></p><p>Nothing takes the edge off of holiday stress like a hot cup of tea, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/anxiety/the-benefits-and-uses-of-chamomile/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile</a> is just the tea for the job.</p><p>For starters, it's full of potent antioxidants like flavonoids and terpenes to help you fend off colds. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies also show</a> that chamomile tea can <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-sleep-aids/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">improve sleep quality</a> and relieve depression in postpartum women. Quality sleep is important for reducing stress and chamomile is an ideal way to unwind and catch some Z's. Chamomile essential oil can also have stress reducing benefits when used in aromatherapy diffusers.</p>
Other Ways to Avoid Holiday Stress<p>The holidays have a stressful side that many of us know all too well. When your head is spinning with family events, shopping and gift wrapping, plus your bank account is dwindling, stress can get the best of you. This can take a toll on your sleep quality, mental health, and general well being, but natural herbs can help combat holiday stress when it's at its worst.</p><p>In addition to taking natural herbal supplements, other practices like mindful meditation, exercise and healthy eating (even though it may be hard to do during the holidays) can be great ways to stay stress-free during the holiday season.</p>
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By Louise Chawla
As an environmental psychologist who works to improve young people's access to nature, I recently completed a review that brings two bodies of research together: one on connecting children and adolescents with nature, and the second on supporting healthy coping when they realize they are part of a planet in peril.
From broken buildings to uprooted trees, extreme weather can leave behind a lot of visible damage. But there is invisible damage, too. Many survivors face mental health struggles after a storm.
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By Gero Rueter
The science is clear. If we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the same rate we have been doing for the past decades, 80 years from now, our planet will be at least four degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels.
Figures Remain Incomprehensible<p>Although the findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are unambiguous, many laypeople, as well as politicians, find their details hard to understand. This can impact the implementation of recommendations. Such, at least, is the conclusion reached by an international team of researchers who analyzed the IPCC reports.</p><p>Many struggle to picture a ton of the greenhouse gas CO2. Such figures "don't really reach the human psyche," Ernst said.</p><p>Yet dealing with CO2 is essential in the climate crisis, because the more <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climatechange-emissions-fossilfuels-gdp-economy-renewables/a-55089013" target="_blank">greenhouse gases</a> there are in the air, the faster the earth warms up. CO2 is mainly produced by the burning of oil, coal and natural gas. In order to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees, CO2 emissions need to be reduced as quickly as possible, and neutralized <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/european-parliament-confirms-2030-climate-target-to-cut-emissions/a-55197301" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">no later than 2050.</a> In order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, however, the world would have to become climate-neutral even sooner.</p><p>Christoph Nikendei, psychotraumatology expert at University Hospital in the southern German city of Heidelberg says it's important to use easy-to-understand figures, and to address the emotional brain so that climate change can become a real and tangible part of life.</p>
How Many Trees Need to Grow to Compensate for My Flight?<p>To stay with that example: One ton of CO2 is produced, for example, by burning 422 liters (111 gallons) of gasoline, which would allow a car to travel an average of 5,400 kilometers (3,355 miles).</p>
Collective Behavior: Silence and Repression<p>Another obstacle to tackling the climate crisis is repression, which is a very common psychological protection mechanism.</p><p>"People don't want to hear how bad things are, so they push it away. Smokers also do this when confronted with the consequences of their behavior," Ernst said, adding that many who don't want to deal with the climate issue, look away and leave it for others to solve.</p><p>Nikendei sees this behavior as a collective pattern of action: a <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-and-climate-change-collective-action-is-the-only-way-forward/a-53595386" target="_blank">collective social norm of silence</a>, and likens the reluctance to acknowledge the climate crisis to the social taboos of aging, illness and death.</p>
Rejection and Paralysis Can Be Overcome<p>Nikendei regards it as the role of psychologists to acknowledge this collective rejection and the emotions associated with it while simultaneously assisting the necessary change in values. This includes mourning the end of the fossil fuel era, recognizing one's own involvement in climate change and a shift in values towards cooperation over competition.</p><p>Excessive behavior in society needs to be replaced by more sharing, repairing and preserving, the psychotrauma expert says. Reconnecting with nature is also important. In pursuing this approach, he believes <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/psychology-behind-climate-inaction-how-to-beat-the-doom-barrier/a-48730230" target="_blank">psychologists can help</a> people to cope with the climate crisis and overcome feelings of fear, paralysis and helplessness.<br><br>More than a thousand psychologists and psychotherapists in Europe are trying to do just that with the Psychologists for Future network, says co-initiator Lea Dohm. "Our campaign has struck a nerve. Lots of people from all walks of life want our help in tackling the climate crisis."</p>
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