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Have you ever felt a sense of worry, fear, or anger when you think about climate change and the state of our planet? If so, you may be experiencing what's called “eco-anxiety.” As plant lovers who are so connected to nature through our gardens and houseplants, it makes total sense that eco-anxiety could affect us. We care deeply about the Earth because we are part of it. So, let us spend some time with my dearest friend and resident green witch, Rachael Cohen, to better understand this concept.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [03:33] What is eco-anxiety?
  • [07:14] Rachael’s personal story of identifying/managing eco-anxiety
  • [09:45] Coping with eco-anxiety
  • [11:21] How perspective affects happiness
  • [12:16] What is the environmental impact of our actions, and how does it relate to our well-being?
  • [15:21] Fill your homes with the most ethereal sounds with the new Wind River Eclipse Collection (use code GROWINGJOY)
  • [17:26] Discover gardening tips, kitchen tricks, and family activities to reduce waste and save money with ‘Simple Country Living’ by Annette Thurmon
  • [18:39] What is Rachael's book, Self-Care for Eco-Anxiety, all about?
  • [20:01] Is corporate responsibility being misdirected, with consumers unfairly blamed?
  • [22:30] How to shift from fight/flight to parasympathetic rest and digest mode
  • [24:18] Somatic practices to release severe negative feelings associated with eco-anxiety
  • [29:01] Finding neutrality and managing anxiety
  • [30:10] What is the concept of “the mother tree” in Rachael’s book?
  • [32:25] What is the mycelium network?
  • [36:42] What are some ways we can give back to Mother Nature?
  • [41:37] Rachael’s favorite strategy for bringing oneself back from an eco-anxiety spiral
  • [43:23] How is the book constructed?
  • [46:55] Where can you get the book?


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What is Eco-Anxiety?

According to the American Psychological Association, eco-anxiety is fear of environmental disaster from climate change's (seemingly) irreversible effects. It's not just feeling anxious, but it’s a mix of rage, fear, overwhelm, and even apathy.

Rachael says eco-anxiety contains the anger we feel towards corporations and leaders who prioritize profits over the planet. It's the overwhelm that keeps us from taking action. It's the paralysis and depression that comes from a sense of “what's the point?”

Feeling anxious, angry, or helpless about the environment is actually a sane response to the insanity of society's unsustainable ways. You're not alone or wrong for having these feelings. In fact, paying attention and wanting change is the appropriate reaction.


Rachael's Experience with Eco-Anxiety

Rachael was hit hard with eco-anxiety (then called “eco-phobia”) while earning her master’s in marine biodiversity. She'd wake up gasping for air, and lose her appetite from constant racing thoughts about how bad everything was getting. It got so bad, she needed therapy and medication to cope.

The anxiety came back after having her second child too. Rachael said, “I was just petrified about the future for my children. And then just petrified because I felt like, why can't I get out of this?”


Addressing Ec0-Anxiety Through Nature

People often feel anxious when they feel out of control and disconnected. So it makes sense that healing eco-anxiety means reconnecting with nature! Rachael shared some great somatic (body-based) practices from her new book Self-Care for Eco-Anxiety to help release difficult eco emotions:

For rage towards corporation/government: Scream into a pillow, pound it with your fists, then visualize releasing that anger into the earth to be transformed.  

For fear: Run in place really fast, letting your body feel that “flight” response. Or push hard against a tree, feeling brave to “face” what scares you.

For fawning/people-pleasing: Imagine yourself as a seed, growing bigger and bigger like a tree, taking up your full space without apology.

The key is making space for those hard feelings instead of bottling them up. From there, you can find acceptance and neutrality.


Remembering Our Connection with Mother Trees

One of Rachael's most powerful practices is connecting with “mother trees” – the biggest, oldest trees that nurture their whole forest community through an interconnected fungal network called the mycelium network.

We humans have energetic mother trees too—these are the trees that just “speak” to us on a soul level, like old friends. Rachael guides you to breathe with your mother tree(s) and ask for their wisdom and guidance.

Because at the end of the day, trees and all nature are sentient beings. We're meant to be in a reciprocal relationship with our planet—giving and receiving, not just mindlessly taking.


Simple Ways to Give Back to Nature

On that note, there are so many simple yet powerful ways to give back to our Mother Earth:

  • Use organic fertilizers/pesticides in your garden
  • Plant pollinator-friendly flowers/herbs 
  • Start a compost bin for your food scraps
  • Put up birdhouses to welcome them
  • Bring nature indoors with dried flowers, branches, pine cones

Even small actions like these help confirm our place in nature's cycles of life—we're not separate; we're deeply interconnected with the whole web of beings on this planet.


More Ways to Help Yourself and the Planet (From Rachael’s Book)

Rachael's book “Self-Care for Eco-Anxiety” has 52 total practices to reconnect, divided into 3 parts. The first section is all about rebuilding that earth connection. The second helps you co-create through arts, cooking, gardening, and more. And the last part is all about actions that can be taken to give back to our nature.

But Rachael emphasizes starting with connection over action – because coming from a place of love and awe is what will truly inspire us to protect this beloved planet we call home.

So don't beat yourself up about your eco-anxious feelings. They make total sense. Instead, let's work together as a community to forge a new, sustainable path forward while leaning on the wisdom of our greatest teacher—Mother Nature herself.



Mentioned in our conversation:



Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Wind River Chimes

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Visit and use code GROWINGJOY to receive free engraving on all engraveable wind chimes.

Quarto: Simple Country Living by Annette Thurmon

If you feel called to reconnect with the earth and maybe even add homesteading to your list of hobbies, Simple Country Living by Annette Thurmon is the book for you! It's a practical guidebook focused on the garden and kitchen know-how, with recipes, tips, tricks, and family activities that will help you reduce waste, save money, and harness new skills. Learn how to create a nature-inspired home while giving yourself new skills for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Grab Simple Country Living: Techniques, Recipes, and Wisdom for the Garden, Kitchen, and Beyond by Annette Thurmon at your favorite local bookstore,, Barnes & Noble or



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