Why are children experiencing stress and anxiety more these days?

In recent years, there has been a remarkable escalation in anxiety and stress among children in the UK.

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This rise can be based on various factors, ranging from social dynamics to environmental concerns, technological advancements, and family structures. Understanding these underlying root causes is imperative for addressing the mental health needs of children and young adults and exploring effective interventions like hypnotherapy.


Fundamental social factors contributing to anxiety

Several social factors significantly contribute to the development of anxiety in children:

Peer exclusion and bullying

Social interactions and acceptance are vital during childhood and adolescence. Exclusion or bullying can severely impact a child's self-esteem and mental well-being, leading to anxiety and depression. This is now even more common via social media.

Parental issues

Domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse, and family breakdowns create an unstable environment for children. Witnessing or experiencing these issues can result in chronic stress and anxiety.

Bereavement and family breakdown

The loss of a loved one or parental separation can be traumatic for children. Such experiences often lead to feelings of insecurity and anxiety as they cope with significant changes in their lives.

School-related stress

Academic pressures, teacher-student relationships, and the noise and chaos of school environments can overwhelm children, contributing to stress and anxiety.


Environmental and technological influences

Modern environmental and technological factors also play a significant role:

Climate change and eco-anxiety

Growing awareness of climate change and its potential impact has given rise to a new form of anxiety known as eco-anxiety. Children and adolescents, who are more sensitive to global issues, often feel overwhelmed by the grim predictions about the future.

Social media and smartphones

Social media has dramatically changed the way that young people interact and perceive themselves. Social comparison, cyberbullying, and exposure to harmful content on these platforms can negatively impact their mental health. The constant need for validation and fear of missing out (FOMO) intensify anxiety and stress.


The role of trauma and learned behaviours

Children's mental health is also shaped by their immediate environments and experiences:

Trauma

Trauma is personal and what one person interprets as trauma will be different to another.  That said if children have experienced or witnessed violence, abuse, or serious illness it can trigger anxiety. Such traumatic events leave lasting impressions and can disrupt a child's sense of safety and normalcy.

Learned behaviours

Children often mimic the emotional responses of adults around them. Growing up in a household where anxiety and fear are prevalent can teach a child to adopt similar reactions, perpetuating a cycle of anxiety that embeds a habit pattern of emotions and reactions to situations.


Societal trends and their impact

Societal shifts also contribute to the growing anxiety epidemic among children:

Avoidance of uncomfortable situations

Modern society increasingly avoids confronting uncomfortable situations, leading to a generation less prepared to handle real-world challenges. This avoidance can leave children ill-equipped to manage stress and anxiety effectively.

Increased pressure and expectations

The competitive nature of modern education and societal expectations can overwhelm children, leading to increased stress and anxiety.


How hypnotherapy can help

I have seen an increase in children seeking my help using hypnotherapy as an emerging valuable tool in helping them regulate, manage, and overcome anxiety.

It works by inducing a state of deep relaxation and heightened awareness, allowing children to confront their fears and develop healthier coping mechanisms in a safe environment. If habit patterns have been formed then together we can reframe these habit patterns into more positive ones.


The process of hypnotherapy

Creating a relaxed state

My clients often refer to my treatment as a ‘spa experience’. Whilst they relax in a comfy relaxing chair, listening to soft pleasant music wearing an eye mask if wanted.

Hypnotherapy helps children achieve a state of relaxation where they can focus intensely on their thoughts and imagination. This relaxed state is conducive to exploring and reframing anxious thoughts.

Engaging imagination and internal resources

By using their imagination, children can visualise positive outcomes and develop new ways of responding to stressors. This process builds confidence and equips them with tools to manage anxiety more effectively.

Reframing thought patterns

Hypnotherapy guides children in reframing negative thought patterns. They learn to approach their fears with a new perspective, reducing the intensity of their anxiety.

Practical techniques

One simple technique that can be introduced is the 3-3-3 rule, a mindfulness exercise that helps ground children in the present moment. This technique involves naming three things they can see, identifying three sounds they can hear, and moving three different parts of their body.

Such exercises can be incorporated into hypnotherapy sessions to help children manage anxiety in real-time.


Applications and benefits

Hypnotherapy for children can be used to address a wide range of issues beyond anxiety, including:

  • Behavioural issues: Hypnotherapy can help with bedwetting (enuresis) and other behavioural problems such as anger or lack of confidence by addressing underlying anxiety and emotional stress.
  • Family and school issues: Children dealing with parental divorce, separation, or school-related stress can benefit from hypnotherapy's calming and confidence-building effects.
  • Attention disorders: Hypnotherapy has been found effective for children with ADHD, helping them focus and manage their symptoms more effectively.

The rising levels of anxiety and stress among children in the UK are a multifaceted issue, influenced by social, environmental, and technological factors. Hypnotherapy offers a promising intervention, helping children develop the resilience and coping skills needed to navigate these challenges.

By creating a safe space for relaxation and imaginative exploration, hypnotherapy can significantly improve children's mental well-being and equip them with tools to face their fears confidently. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Solihull, B91
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Written by Angela Cain, D.M.H, D.Hyp, CPNLP - Clinical Hypnotherapist
Solihull, B91

Angela Cain Clinical Hypnotherapist
D.M.H, D.Hyp, CPNLP,

I specialise in stress and anxiety, especially in teenagers and young adults. I use a unique combination of treatments and therapies including E.M.D.R, NLP, Meridian Tapping, and Hypnotherapy. I have a clinic in The Midlands and I am an Associate within a Harley Street practice.

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