Have you noticed that over the last several years the number of children and young people affected by symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, headaches, stomach aches and other medically unexplained symptoms is growing at an alarming pace? I’ve certainly been surprised at the increasing numbers of young people I see in my practice.
Whether or not you are a parent, this upward trend is worrying because we have to conclude that this is a reflection on us, on our society and culture.
So why is this happening and what can we do about it?
To address the first question we need to see how the macro affects the micro. As we look around we see a world that appears to be in crisis. From financial and economic systems, to cultures and weather patterns, we see disharmony, collapse and massive uncertainty. The ‘energy’ of life feels amplified and intense, and emotions are running high as the drama of life unfolds.
On the micro level, young people feel pressure about life, pressure to conform, fit in, succeed and achieve, while trying to balance a strong internal drive to be and experience themselves. Young people are opening up, feeling more than ever; they are sensitive, intuitive and display great wisdom and knowingness.
It is this conflict, the outer world of mass consciousness versus the inner experience and need to flow, that is leading to the dramatic increases in young people experiencing anxiety, depression, stress and other medically unexplained symptoms.
What can we do? As parents, grandparents, teachers and concerned members of the community, we need to recognize and support our children’s need to experience themselves, not who we say they are or who they should be. We need to honor and respect what they feel — and encourage them to feel. We need to invite them to really trust themselves, so they can develop the skills of being self-directed and self-corrected in life. As they do this, they will develop their capacity to flow with their internal wisdom, their core essence and in doing so alleviate the pain and discomfort that comes from battling themselves in an attempt to fit in with this crazy world of ours.
For young people struggling with anxiety, depression, stress and other symptoms: Please know it is not inevitable, it’s not something that is happening to you, it’s an experience you are having that you can change. Embrace the simple notion that your real job as a human being is to experience yourself in each and every moment, to follow your passion and embrace your feelings.
Despite the pressure to fit in, to be liked, to say and do the ‘right’ thing, the road to health, happiness and fulfillment — which is your default ‘factory’ setting — is to trust yourself, be true to deeper feelings and allow yourself to be present in each moment. Meet life in the now with all of who you are.
If you or a young person you know needs more support and guidance to alleviate anxiety, depression, stress or other medically unexplained symptoms, my free webinar on how to eliminate anxiety is available here, my free webinar on overcoming depression is available here; or if you would like to ask me any questions about symptoms, circumstances, worries or concerns drop me a message here and we can have a chat.
*photo courtesy of Leslee Jo Photography