Time to Thrive

Counselling, Mental Health Support and Information

Hello and welcome!
My name is Heidi Soholt and I am a qualified and accredited BACP and COSCA registered counsellor, working with adults and young people (15+) in my private practice.

I believe wholeheartedly in early intervention - helping people maintain good levels of mental health from as early in life as possible. I am also passionate about our ability to heal and overcome life's challenges - whatever our age. It is never too late to start on your journey to truly thrive. Here, on my blog, you will find a range information to promote good mental health. I'd love to hear your suggestions for topics too.

I am a fully qualified 'CyberTherapist' and able to safely work with clients via video. I also provide face-to-face sessions from premises in central Stirling.

I use an integrated approach in my counselling, drawing on experience in a range of modalities, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Person-Centred and creative approaches. I am also trained in EMDR. This enables me to tailor counselling to each individual, depending on needs.

Areas of expertise include anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and relationships (including parent-child).


Counselling services for individuals aged 16+.

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  • Scotland, United Kingdom

How will you protect my privacy and ensure confidentiality?


Your privacy is very important to me and you can be confident that your personal information will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was given to me. 
I adhere to current data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (EU/2016/679) (the GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

This privacy notice tells you what I will do with your personal information from initial point of contact through to after your therapy has ended, including:
• Why I am able to process your information and what purpose I am processing it for
• Whether you have to provide it to me
• How long I store it for
• Your data protection rights.

I am happy to chat through any questions you might have about my data protection policy and you can contact me via heidisoholt@gmail.com.
‘Data controller’ is the term used to describe the person/organisation that collects and stores and has responsibility for people’s personal data. In this instance, the data controller is me.

I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office – Reg. No. ZA452505.
My postal address is: 2 Gartur House, Gartur Estate, Cambusbarron, Stirling FK7 9QQ.  My email address is: heidisoholt@gmail.com.

My lawful basis for holding and using your personal information

The GDPR states that I must have a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which I am processing your data. I have explained these below:

  • If you have had therapy with me and it has now ended, I will use legitimate interest as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information.
  • If you are currently having therapy or if you are in contact with me to consider therapy, I will process your personal data where it is necessary for the performance of our contract.
  • The GDPR also makes sure that I look after any sensitive personal information that you may disclose to me appropriately.
  • This type of information is called ‘special category personal information’. The lawful basis for me processing any special categories of personal information is that it is for provision of health treatment (in this case counselling) and necessary for a contract with a health professional (in this case, a contract between me and you).

How I use your information

Initial contact
When you contact me with an enquiry about my counselling services I will collect information to help me satisfy your enquiry. This will include some personal details such as your name, age, location, emergency contact, GP contacts, address and date of birth. Alternatively, your GP or other health professional may send me your details when making a referral or a parent or trusted individual may give me your details when making an enquiry on your behalf.
If you decide not to proceed I will ensure all your personal data is deleted within one week. If you would like me to delete this information sooner, just let me know.

While you are accessing counselling
Rest assured that everything you discuss with me is confidential. That confidentiality will only be broken if you provide me with information that makes me concerned for your or someone else’s safety. I will always try to speak to you about this first, unless there are safeguarding issues that prevent this.
I will keep a record of your personal details to help the counselling services run smoothly. These details are kept securely and are not shared with any third party.
I will keep written notes of each session, these are kept securely.

After counselling has ended
Once counselling has ended your records will be kept for five years from the end of our contact with each other and are then securely destroyed. If you want me to delete your information sooner than this, please tell me.

Your rights
I try to be as open as I can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. You have a right to ask me to delete your personal information, to limit how I use your personal information, or to stop processing your personal information. You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that I hold about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more
about your rights at ico.org.uk/your-data-matters.
You can also ask me at any time to correct any mistakes there may be in the personal information I hold about you.
To make a request for any personal information I may hold about you, please put the request in writing addressing it to heidisoholt@gmail.com.
If you have any complaint about how I handle your personal data please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by writing or emailing to the contact details given above. I would welcome any suggestions for improving my data protection procedures.
If you want to make a formal complaint about the way I have processed your personal information you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. For more information go to ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint.

Your rights and Data security

I take the security of the data I hold about you very seriously and as such I take every effort to make sure it is kept secure. I store data on my laptop which is password protected, and paper copies in locked storage.


As a member of the BACP and COSCA your counsellor adheres to the associations’ code of ethics and standards for good practice[1]. 
 Your counsellor aims to provide a high-quality service to all clients. However, they appreciate that there will be occasions when problems arise and in these cases they will seek to address and resolve issues of complaint as quickly as possible.
   [1] A copy of these can be downloaded at 
www.bacp.co.uk/events/learning_programmes/ethical_framework/documents/ethical_framework.pdf and https://www.cosca.org.uk/guidance-policies/ethics

This policy is in place to ensure that:

  • Complaints are dealt with effectively
  • Complaints are appropriately looked into
  • All complainants are treated with respect and dignity
  • Complainants are given appropriate information for escalating complaints if they remain dissatisfied with responses given

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the way in which your counsellor has provided a service, the quality of the service provided or a lack of service provided.

How can a complaint be made?

  • Your counsellor requests that issues of complaint are raised at the earliest opportunity. This will help your counsellor to satisfactorily resolve the complaint before it develops into a bigger problem.
  • All complaints (about any aspect of the counselling service) should be taken up with the counsellor in the first instance. Receipt of a complaint will be acknowledged within one working week. A time limit of 3 years from the alleged unethical practice shall apply.
  • Please provide details of your complaint on the Complaints Form which can be provided upon request from your counsellor – heidisoholt6@proton.me.
  • If you don’t feel you have had a satisfactory response, then please contact the relevant professional association. For BACP call 01455 883300, email complaints@bacp. For COSCA call 01786 475140
  • Your counsellor will fully comply with requests for information as part of any investigation.
Grounding for Anxiety

Grounding for Anxiety


When working with anxiety I believe it’s vital to teach approaches that target this emotion at a ‘bodily’ level. While anxiety is a vital and normal reaction we all feel at times (in fact, life would be down-right dangerous without it!), sometimes life can leave us overly sensitised, to the extent anxiety interferes with every-day living. If we think of emotions as starting in our bodies – physical reactions to external stimuli – then it makes sense to work with anxiety not just at a ‘cognitive’, thinking level, but also at a bodily, physical point. And this is where grounding exercises can be incredibly powerful tools to draw on when you get to that stage where anxiety feels overwhelming. One of my favourite techniques is ‘Grounding Body Awareness’ – this will help bring you into the ‘here and now’ when your anxiety has spun your mind into the future or past. Even doing just a few of the steps below can be helpful, and it might be useful to keep a copy of the exercise handy, e.g., saved on your phone – to use when it’s needed. One last tip; practise this exercise regularly, when not overly triggered, so you become familiar and comfortable with it and can use it more effectively at times of heightened emotion. • Take 5 long, deep breaths through your nose and breathe out through your lips. Try to make the out breath a little longer than the in (this signals to your nervous system that the ‘threat’ it has picked up is over, and helps your body return to a place of calm). • Put both feet on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Curl and uncurl your toes several times. Spend a moment noticing any sensations in your feet. • Stomp your feet. Focus on the sensations in your feet and legs as you do this. • Clench your hands into fists, then release. Repeat a few times. • Press palms together. Press hard and hold for 15 seconds. Pay attention to any feelings or sensations. • Rub palms together. Notice and feel the sensation of warmth this creates. • Stretch your hands over your head like you’re trying to reach the sky. Bring your arms down and relax them. • Take five more deep breaths, and notice the feeling of increased calm.

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  •  31/08/2023 03:50 PM

Parenting tips for supporting your child with back-to-school anxiety.


The Guardian

My parents have always made me feel so angry. Can I find a way to assert myself? It might be worth digging into what it is you fear if you were to reveal your feelings. There may be an explosion, but then what?

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Metro Newspaper

I ventured into the world of side hustles by accident. I’d always write for magazines and blogs on the side from a young age, while juggling my full-time job working in retail or studying at university. I didn’t see this as a side hustle, mainly because I wasn’t getting paid, but also because it was something I’d always been doing.

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The Scotsman

Hands up if you want to take a big step forward

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Metro Newspaper

Asking For A Friend: I’m moving home. How do I deal with my annoying mum? Covid created a generation of boomerang adults who moved back in with their parents during lockdown, when it was no longer viable (or necessary) to pay rent for a flat in the city. But now, the cost of living crisis has exacerbated the trend. According to research by Capital One, one in five young people are planning to move back to their family home due to unaffordable rents and living costs. For many, moving back in with parents is dreamy: they’ll be able to save the majority of their wages while getting home cooked meals and spending some quality time with their family. But we aren’t all so lucky as to have a glowing relationship with our parents, and having to abide by someone else’s rules when you’re under their roof can feel like a big step backwards after you’ve had a taste of independence. ‘Moving back in with parents can trigger a variety of difficult emotions,’ Heidi Soholt, an accredited psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), tells Metro.co.uk. ‘There may be a sense of failure, guilt, even shame, about needing to move back home. ‘Our self-esteem and sense of identity can take a real hit when faced with moving back in with parents due to factors such as job loss or a relationship breakdown.’ This, coupled with tricky family dynamics, can be overwhelming. Young female character holding a pile of cardboard boxes, delivery service, courier Moving home can be challenging for your mental health (Picure: Getty Images/iStockphoto) ‘Challenging family relationships can be extremely stressful, and leave you feeling drained,’ Heidi adds. ‘Living with family who constantly push your buttons can lead to negative consequences such as poor sleep, difficulty focusing due to stress, anxiety, anger, self-blame, low mood and even depression.’ Depending on where this negative relationship stems from, moving home can be highly triggering. ‘If problems stem from unaddressed trauma, then the consequences for mental and physical health can be serious,’ says Heidi. ‘Moving back into a family environment where there are, or have been, problems such as alcoholism or domestic violence can be highly triggering. ‘Returning to a place where trauma has taken place can trigger intense emotional and physiological reactions, causing symptoms such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, dissociation, and even suicidal ideation.’ These feelings can come out in anger, too – you may overreact to things your parents are doing or saying, getting annoyed by tiny little things. So, it’s important to understand why you find your parents so annoying to begin with. If it’s down to trauma, journaling and therapy might help you to come to terms with it. If it’s just that you find your family extremely irritating, that’s a different story. Family sat on couch watching TV Not everybody has the ideal family dynamic (Picture: Getty Images/fStop) Here’s how to deal with it. Learn to switch perspectives As Heidi says, ‘people aren’t generally born bad, difficult, manipulative and so on. ‘These traits tend to manifest through challenges individuals have faced such as difficult upbringings. ‘For example, if your mum grew up feeling rejected by her family then she may have difficulties expressing authentic emotion, and this can present as being overly defensive or even passive aggressive.’ Try seeing your mum’s behaviour from her side and rationalise it instead of taking it personally – it might help you to stay calm and, in turn, create a healthier dynamic. Set boundaries Setting boundaries – and sticking to them – is challenging when it comes to family, but it’s also vital. ‘Boundaries are about being assertive,’ says Heidi. ‘They are about standing up for your rights to things like privacy, while respecting others’ rights to the same.’ You can tell your parents that they need to knock before opening your bedroom door, that they can’t open your letters and parcels, and that you don’t always need to let them know where they’re going. ‘Pick a calm time to discuss your boundaries and be clear and reasonable about what you expect from your family, and be direct and firm,’ says Heidi. ‘It may mean repeating what is important to you until you feel heard.’ MORE: TRENDING zone post image for post 18973277 Mother's warning after toddler's bruise turns out to be stage 4 cancer zone post image for post 18973517 'My wife died in childbirth - writing about grief saved my life' zone post image for post 18959531 Energy supplier to pay compensation to over 500,000 customers - are you owed money? Don’t forget that they care about you deep down Given this isn’t a domestic abuse situation, it’s important to remember that your family are there for you and they love you dearly. This means also taking accountability for family disagreements and arguments. ‘It might be worth having an honest look at how you may have contributed to family tensions, and finding better ways to communicate,’ says Heidi. ‘It’s very easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know what a family member really means, or predicting what they are going to say, forgetting to really listen. ‘Practising really listening to others, and noticing when our biases show up can be transformative for our relationships.’

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The Guardian

Why swearing is a Christmas stress-buster It may be the season of goodwill to all, but research shows that a burst of colourful swearing relieves stress and promotes bonding. Happy effing Christmas! By Sally Howard / The Guardian I’m sitting in a polite home in southeast London shouting, “Go piss up a rope ya fuckstick,” at a sofa cushion. This odd ejaculation is at the behest of Australian singing teacher Sam, who’s part of today’s four-woman therapeutic “cursing circle,” a group therapy trend that emerged, like all things in fringe therapeutics, on the west coast of America. Sam, our group leader today, sees her compatriots’ reputation as experts of the profane as a form of honest discourse that might help uptight people improve our intimate relationships and let off steam. And it’s something that could be especially helpful at this time of year: a way of venting after a festive overload of troublesome relatives or office Christmas parties. Perhaps best not to vent in company, though, as Sam recommends hollering therapeutic profanities at volume towards inanimate objects when you are alone. This year, try dreaming of a blue Christmas rather than a white one. People last week look at Christmas decorations in Riga, Latvia. Photo: EPA-EFE The aforementioned “Go piss up a rope ya fuckstick” was a popular curse in 1990s Australia: yelled at queue-cutters or the sort of unreconstructed drongos who enjoyed snapping women’s bra straps. Tonight our circle is trying it for size for its stress-relieving potential against our tried-and-tested teen favorites. “Let’s go full blue Aussie!” cries Sam. ANATOMY OF SWEARING Vulgarisms form a large part of most nations’ vocabulary, though they differ in their nature and categorization from place to place and over time. Anthropologist Ashley Montague’s classic 1967 text, The Anatomy of Swearing, distinguishes between three categories: “swearing” (“Fuck it”), “cursing” (“Fuck you”) and “oathing” (“By God”). Most nations and points in history have seen sexual and body-part categories of profanities, whereas religious profanities have dwindled in Protestant nations while they retain currency in culturally Catholic nations such as Spain, Italy and Ireland. That’s effing cold! Participants of the 84th edition of the annual Christmas swimming “Coupe de Noel” are sprayed with cold water last week before jumping into Lake Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland. According to research published in 2006, more than half of the voluntary cursing that we do follows anger and frustration, 9 percent of it follows humor and 6 percent follows pain. Photo: EPA-EFE Britons issue on average 14 expletives a day, making it among Europe’s most potty-mouthed nations. The English language boasts a handsome 348 curse words and phrases, the world’s highest tally (compared to Mandarin’s paltry 29 and Norwegian’s 94). While older Britons swear less in person than 20 years ago, millennials and Gen Z swear more than their forebears, and expletives are on the rise both in workplaces and on social media. Use of the most common swear words on Facebook rose by 41 percent from 2019 to last year, according to intelligence agency Storyful, and expletives rose by 27 percent on Twitter during the remote-working pandemic years. BENEFITS OF SWEARING Swearing confers a range of benefits, says psychotherapist Heidi Soholt, from pain and stress-relief to social leveling. Soholt uses curse words therapeutically, mirroring clients’ use of language to put them at ease. “Using taboo words allows us to release these intense emotions without actually using physical aggression,” Soholt says, “by releasing anger, for example, in a more culturally acceptable and less problematic way.” Swearing is particularly useful for male clients, she says, for whom profanities can be a proxy for breaking down in tears. “Swearing is more socially accepted for men than crying.” In 2020, British psychologists asked 92 subjects to submerge their hands in painfully icy water. Some subjects were told to use profanities, others to exclaim a non-profane neutral word and a third group used an invented curse word such as “twizpipe.” The swearers tolerated more pain and found more humor in the experience than those using the invented curse, but even the invented curse provided more emotional relief than saying the neutral word, an effect that’s behind the cursing circles’ use of group swearing as therapy. According to research published in 2006, more than half of the voluntary cursing that we do follows anger and frustration, 9 percent of it follows humor and 6 percent follows pain. “If I dropped a hammer on my thumb, saying flippin’ heck just wouldn’t cut it,” says Matt, a 47-year-old builder in Yorkshire who only wanted to be identified by his first name. Matt is aware that the building trade is characterized as being rife with foul language and thinks this cliche holds as true today as when he started out in the business. “I’d say 30 out of 50 words uttered on the site are swear words,” he says. “What the fuck are you doing?” is, he adds, a constant refrain; small distances are measured in “cock’s hairs” and the weight of objects is “fucking heavy” or “not that fucking heavy.” “We had a fireplace to lift the other day,” he recalls, “and I asked my boss: ‘Is it heavy?’ and he said ‘Yes, fuckin’ heavy’ and that told me a lot more than knowing it weighed 25kg.” CONTEXT IS KEY Clearly not all cursing can or should be seen as harmless “bants.” These exchanges need to be seen in the context of who is cursing whom and where any power balance — or imbalance — lies. Melissa Mohr, a US-based historian and author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, says that identity-based curses, including racist and homophobic curses, and those referring derogatorily to women (if not women’s body parts), are waning in most social contexts in the West. “These words are no longer used in terms of, say, pain relief,” Mohr says. “Curses do need to be taboo to have their transgressive power, but these words occupy a space beyond that.” When it comes to our current profane lexicon we are, Mohr explains, squarely back with the ancients. “In ancient Rome and Greece the most prevalent curses were around excreta and sexual activity, and that’s kind of where we have been since the 20th century.” Religious profanities were common in the middle ages — as an example, Mohr offers: “God’s nails, this stew is hot!” By the 16th century, however, these words had lost their shock factor. Sexual swear words have also been sanitized over time. “Swithe” and “sard,” once obscene verbs for the sexual act, with some translations of the Gospels rendering the Sixth Commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” as “Thou shall not sard another’s wife,” dropped out of use in the modern period. By the 19th century, sexual swear words (“John Thomas,” “quim”) were both ubiquitous and frowned upon by sermonizing Victorians. “You get all these tut-tutting Victorian tracts about how the working classes can’t put two words together without cursing, as well as religious imagery showing the terrible consequences of what would happen if you swore,” adds Mohr. Interestingly, the word “Christmas” had a brief life in the mid-20th century as a sanitized substitute for religious oathing, akin to “egad,” “gosh” and “golly” for “God.” John Cohen’s The Natural History of Swearing (1961) relates: “A member of the royal family, somewhat irritated by a slight tear in her dress at a public ceremony, uttered the rather unexpected exclamation, ‘Christmas!’” BONDING As Matt the builder intimates, swearing can have a powerful group-bonding function. Karyn Stapleton, who researches the social effects of swearing at Ulster University, has found that women swear less frequently and when they do swear it tends to be in closed circles, perhaps as a way of feeling close to an intimate group of friends by dabbling, as a shared exercise, in linguistic taboos. Victoria Emes, a 39-year-old comedian based in London, is the author of Welcome to Motherhood, Bitches (2022) and a blogger of “Unfiltered thoughts from a potty-mouthed mama navigating the peaks and troughs of parenthood.” Emes’s recent posts explore “sprout hos,” or mums who suffer flatulence after a surfeit of the festive brassicas, and annoyances about having no loo roll left to “wipe my b-hole thanks to the kids.” She says that targeted use of profane humor diffuses tension as it allows strangers to feel at home. “I’ll drop a dickhead or two into conversation when meeting new mums as by doing that you soon realize who your people are,” she says. “I think humor brings people together and makes them feel they can express their true feelings about the shit of parenting without fear of judgment or shame.” Group-bonding is much of the explanation for swearing’s prevalence in the white-collar workplace, fishing fleet or financial trading floor. The Wolf of Wall Street remains the most profane film in English screen history, with 506 F-word expletives, according to Guinness World Records; an average of 3.81 swear words per minute. Financial adviser Errol Slater, 42, spent 20 years working as a floor trader in London and says that swearing provides a pressure release for workers in a constant state of central nervous system stimulation on the trading floor: “Fuck, wanker, shit, twat, cunt, dick — the short and sweet ones were the favorites,” he recalls. “Though Wolf of Wall Street was less blue than my recollection of those years.” Mohr says that working-class occupations were for years culturally derided for their blue language. “Heart! You swear like a comfit-maker’s wife… Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art…” Hotspur cajoles Lady Percy in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1. HONEST BASTARDS As well as its powerful in-group signaling function (“You and me, you old bastard, are kin”), swearing is associated with honesty. In 2017, researchers writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science analyzed studies that looked at 74,000 social-media interactions and found that use of profanities was associated, in those interpreting the swearers, with less lying and deception. Jay Stansfield, 42 and based in Lancashire, is a singer in punk band All Hail Hyena and also runs a children’s coloring-book business. Despite his punk credentials, Stansfield experiences his teenage daughters’ favored cultural diet of Nicki Minaj TikToks and RuPaul’s Drag Race as a seemingly uncensored morass of profanities. “It’s not really to hurt anyone,” he says, “it tends to be along the lines of, ‘Fuck, yeah!’ — like an exclamation of joy.” Stansfield feels that his generation was more guarded about swearing than the northern working classes of his parents’ day, generally sticking to in-group uses, “such as calling people twats when they’re really big-headed, as loads of music egos are.” Studies on swearing and class have found that, historically at least, the working and upper classes were more prone to swear, with the middle classes being the least sweary and most censorious of the blue outbursts of others. It’s swearing’s cathartic potential that most appeals to my cursing circle, we agree, after an hour of sharing our childhood recollections of blue language interspersed with profane outbursts. This aspect of swearing — shared social release — is also seen in the rise of “blue” (acceptably sweary) open mic nights in London and New York, and in the Karen’s Diner concept, an Aussie theme restaurant where staff bombard customers with profanities, which last year arrived in the UK (with branches in Birmingham, Newport and Sheffield). In South Korea, meanwhile, “swearing granny restaurants” allow customers to let off steam as they dine by shooting the breeze with unapologetically foul-mouthed older woman proprietors. “Fuckin’ A,” Sam says as we discuss this wonderful concept. “That’s something twats like us could do with, right?” One of history’s most celebrated swearers, French satirist Rabelais (who was fond of the word “bollocks” as a term of endearment), passed this rosy judgment: “Swearing,” says his character Panurge in his celebrated work Gargantua and Pantagruel, “doth your spleen a great deal of good…”

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The Sunday Post

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY The Sunday Post (Inverness)9 Jul 2023 ● Expert Nadine Andrews. While not a diagnosable condition, eco-anxiety is something we should not ignore or brush aside, say mental health experts. Stirling-based counsellor Heidi Soholt describes eco-anxiety as “people’s worries, fears and distress at the impact our actions are having on the planet, particularly in relation to climate change”. She explained: “This includes concerns and anxieties for themselves and their own future, for future generations and for people from less advantaged backgrounds who may be more at risk of the consequences of climate change.” Soholt says that eco-anxiety can present in a range of symptoms. “Psychological issues can span feelings of panic or dread, difficulty concentrating and thinking about the situation over and over,” she said. “Physical symptoms can include dizziness, sleeplessness and increased heart rate. It can also bring on muscle tension, shortness of breath and sweating.” Nadine Andrews, former chairwoman of the Climate Psychology Alliance Scotland, said climate distress or eco-distress are more accurate and nuanced terms. “Eco-anxiety has become a popular, catch-all term but distress better covers the complex range of emotions, which can include anger and grief,” she said. “Climate change and the current ecological crisis present a profound threat, including a psychological once, which many people might not be consciously aware of. Yet research suggests a large proportion of people are worried about climate change, so feeling concern is a common response.” There are positive steps we can all take to address any overwhelming feelings related to fears and concerns around climate change. Andrews says Climate Cafes, informal meet-ups held across Scotland, can be a useful way to talk with like-minded people. “Simply talking to people about how you feel without judgment can help a lot,” said Andrews. “It’s important to know you’re not alone in having these feelings and that they are actually an appropriate response to a very real crisis.”

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