Children With Eco-Anxiety, How To Spot It And Stop It
Children born into today’s world are automatically exposed to a ton of worldwide problems. We often forget to think about how this is affecting them and what it must feel like to be born into a world like this. As a result, many of our kids are feeling completely overwhelmed by their existence during climate change. If you’re a parent facing this dilemma, don’t worry because you’re not alone.
I can only imagine how scary it must be for the children of today to be surrounded by news reports and social media. All of them express how bad the weather is getting, day in and day out. Scrolling through their social media feeds tells them to be aware of the changes in temperatures and how we should start recording them. We can’t ignore this issue any longer. Although, there are many who don’t want to face the realities of it; we have to because our kids are going to live a very hopeless and paranoid life otherwise.
According to BBC News, there was an academic paper on climate change. Apparently, this paper was so grim that it resulted in people going to therapy. Now this story is viral, with some reports stating it has been downloaded more than 110,000 times.
Children With Eco-Anxiety
This is half the issue. It’s too easy for kids to see and hear everything because of social media. They’re exposed to everything at such a tender age. I think there are some older generation parents doing their best to comfort their kids. By protecting them from the truth and trying to give them a sense of hope. However, these children are too informed and some of them want the world to be worried.
Panicking is not good, though, because it’s putting the world into a state of paranoia. It is too overwhelming for them to soak in because the issue is just too massive. The children of today explain that they feel powerless because there are billions of people and simply don’t know how they, as one small human, can help the world. Psychology Today reports that this is the root cause of ‘eco-anxiety.’ It’s quite problematic because these children genuinely worry about the fate of their environment.
As a result, there’s also a rise in anxiety disorder. According to Anxiety UK, more than 1 in 10 British adults are likely to experience a ‘disabling anxiety disorder’ over the course of their life. That’s pretty scary!
Stress And Worry About The Environment Increase
There isn’t any hardcore evidence about eco-anxiety. However, doctors have noticed a massive increase in anxiety about global climate change. Experts in mental health state that there is a significant proportion of people who are experiencing stress and worry. They’re stressing about the potential impacts of climate change in particular. They added that the levels of worry are also increasing rapidly too.
The concept of ‘eco-anxiety’ hasn’t been added to the list of mental health disorders as a specific condition yet. However, the American Psychological Association produced a 2017 report which notes the impacts of climate change on mental health. This is where we’re all getting the term ‘eco-anxiety’ from.
Basically, children with eco-anxiety are living in an anxious world that fears the doom and gloom of climate change.
Their stress is caused by watching the slow impacts of climate change unfold. Therefore, as you can imagine, our children live lives worrying about their futures, their children s’ and their children’s futures. Some of them are affected by it significantly. They might feel useless, helpless, and frustrated because they’re not able to pro actively prevent climate change from happening.
We Need To Talk About Eco-Anxiety
Nothing is going to improve if we simply bury our heads under the sand. It’s a topic we must address and be open for discussion. This is the time for us to act and take responsibility on behalf of our species. This will help make our children feel better and the world is becoming less complacent.
There are psychologists talking about the issue too. Apparently, what our kids need the most is to talk about it with a therapist who is knowledgeable about the issues. You don’t want your children to live a life where they genuinely believe that our entire human race is completely screwed. This could result in some very reckless behavior like young binge-drinking and drug use. When you don’t have any kind of certainty in your world then it leads you to do all kinds of harmful things.
All in all, it seems that for most sufferers of eco-anxiety, there is certainly not a mood of complacency, but rather extreme frustration.
Feeling Absolutely Powerless
In a documentary, a child with eco-anxiety explains that when you go to sleep, you automatically start thinking about everything. This goes from the state of the planet to the potential future of it. And then the awareness that there’s very little you can do as one person. This is what anxiety is. Children feel very powerless in it all.
Interestingly, reports state that it’s not only our children. This anxiety is affecting adults working in the field as well. Particularly those who live in marine biology. They are exposed to some very sad and disheartening climate change disasters. Often, they get on with it and they’re fine until one day you look around to see a piece of plastic floating in the middle of the water. And then it seems like everything is dying.
What is the impact on the health of our race? It can’t be ideal for living, happier and longer lives that’s for sure.
These children experience regular episodes of crying and heart palpations because of the fate of our world.
What Do You Do To Counteract Eco-Anxiety?
In addition, scientists like Owen Gaffney believe that people should not feel hopeless about the situation. Instead, they should know that they have a choice to do something which can have a positive impact on the planet.
It makes sense that many of our youth are feeling eco-anxiety. However, we live in a time where we have more power than ever before to do something and share it with thousands of other people. We have a voice! Gaffney says that we must look at our spheres of influence. There are employers, networks, families who you can influence. He says we don’t need to convince 100% of people. It’s only 25%, then an idea can go from marginal to mainstream.
More importantly, we need to encourage our children to stay positive. Yes, science states that we need to halve global emissions of greenhouse gases by 2030. However, these solutions to do this all exist. Gaffney says if we start implementing them then more people will be living in cleaner cities. They will eat healthy diets and work in resilient, buoyant economies.
Regain and Assert Your Control
Experts also state that there are three things that you can do, as an individual, to help make a change, and to reassert control over your feelings.
These experts explain that you must first make climate change a factor in the decisions you make. This includes what you eat, how you travel, and what you buy. Then our children must talk about climate change with their friends, family, and colleagues. Lastly, we must ensure that all politicians and companies make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate.
There is a lot that we can do. Not just one of us, but all of us together. We just need to be more proactive and open to discussion.
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