Counseling Children To Care For The Environment

Several generations have now been enduring consequences brought by man’s disregard of the environment. Across borders, humans have experienced the devastation of climate change, famine, global warming, and other such issues related to the environmental crisis. It only seems that the severity of the problem has been increasing over time. Young generations of today seem to be troubled with a lot more environmental problems than ever before. 

The call for environmental justice is an urgent matter. After all, we owe a habitable Earth to the present and living generations, but even more to the generations to come. Essentially, acts towards preserving the environment are acts of looking out for fellow human beings. Therefore, as citizens of the planet, each individual should uphold their responsibility in caring for the Earth.  

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While we are doing what we can to care for the environment, we should also remind young people —the future leaders and inhabitants of the planet— to tread similar paths. It’s highly important to educate young minds about the environmental challenges and ways to combat them. Here are a few things you could counsel children to care more for the environment:

Practice Proper Waste Management

According to the World Bank research on the trends in solid waste management, about 2.01 billion tonnes of waste is generated across the globe every year. What’s worse is that only 33% of this waste is managed environmentally. The effect of improper waste disposal ranges from loss of biodiversity to ocean acidification. 

It may take time for households to learn how to minimize waste. But a good place to start is teaching and practicing the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Teach children to reduce waste by lessening the consumption of materials that could produce too much waste. Here are some strategies to adopt:

  • Avoid single-use containers and products
  • Learn to compost
  • Demonstrate how to conserve water and electricity
  • Teach them to make deliberate and green-minded choices when purchasing 
  • Teach children to avoid food waste
  • Consider walking or biking to school
  • Please encourage them to bring their packaging when grocery shopping

Rather than purchasing new materials, consider reusing the materials already disposed of in your home. Donate toys, accessories, and other materials you no longer use. Reuse clothes, accessories, or other second-hand materials. Teach children to examine the quality of products when purchasing to use them repeatedly for years rather than buying a new product every time. Consider repairing an item before deciding to throw it out.

Before throwing out any material, examine if you can put them to new use. Recycling not only teaches children to be environmentally friendly but also encourages them to be creative and innovative. Here are a few ideas on recycling:

  • Classify recyclables as well as biodegradables and non-biodegradables
  • Be aware of recycling rules in your neighborhood or city
  • Encourage children to reuse materials for arts and crafts
  • Set up a recycling station at home
  • Repurpose old clothing

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Spend More Time Outside And Connect With Nature 

Various studies have presented the benefits of spending time outdoors on physical and mental health and wellbeing. A study from Aarhus University in Denmark even shows that children who grew up surrounded by nature were less likely to develop mental health issues. 

Encouraging children to do activities in the green outdoors could certainly benefit in a multitude of ways: by reducing stress, getting more physical activity, allowing inspiration by being part of a collective, among others. But outdoor activities also encourage children to hone their environmental awareness.

In being able to explore their natural surroundings, children can better create connections and care for nature. As they grow up, they may develop a sense of protection over different ecosystems, natural resources, and species. Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a beach clean-up
  • Do outdoor activities with children (e.g., hiking, swimming, trailing)
  • Go for a picnic or a camping trip
  • Suggest a school gardening or composting project
  • Join a tree-planting initiative

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Talk About Environmental Issues And Consider Counseling For Eco-Anxiety 

More than allowing students to be in nature, it’s also important to engage them in discussions about environmental justice, issues, and practical ways of helping. Allow them space to process information and work together in finding sustainable ways to contribute to a better environment. 

Here are a few tips on how to prepare to talk about environmental issues with children:

  • Know the facts. Educate yourself on environmental concerns through various educational resources. There are a plethora of materials on the environment to read about. Remember to fact-check and update your sources. 
  • Entertain questions. Teach children where and how to access truthful information.  
  • Consult experts. Consider visiting an environmental organization, activist, or researcher to learn more. This way, you can encourage children to verify the information and learn first-hand from the experience of others. 
  • Spend more time outdoors. Consider volunteering. 
  • Be empathetic. Learning about environmental crises may induce stress and arouse feelings of frustration or helplessness. Younger generations are burdened with fear over an uncertain world plagued by environmental problems and disasters. More and more people have developed eco-anxiety with the growing awareness of the problems with the environment. 

Therefore, it is important to approach the subject with empathy as it may be a difficult issue to deal with. If you notice it takes too much toll on a child’s physical and mental well-being, consider asking them to take counseling for eco-anxiety and other related concerns. Of course, this would not solve the environmental problems, but children need to express, process, and feel their thoughts and emotions.  

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Be A Role Model

Ultimately, the best way to teach children to care about the environment is to lead by example. Make your home environmentally friendly and sustainable. Encourage other parents and educators to make schools value nature and focus on environment preservation. Engage children in issues regarding environmental crises and environmental justice. Allow them to express what they feel and think. Then, please support them in their cause and continually empower them to care for Mother Nature.

How Can Counseling Help You Develop A Positive Mindset

The world — and your life — can feel overwhelming. Between the news, personal problems, professional issues, and everything else you have to deal with, it can easily fall into negativity. But there are people you can approach — not just when it gets too much, but also if you want to shore up your mental strength so you can be ready for whatever comes.

In times of mental stress, counselors are present to lend a helping hand. They can help you cope and recover from your problems more healthily. On top of that, they can guide you through self-exploration and self-understanding.

Here are some of the things you can get from undergoing counseling. Read on and learn more about how you can build a positive mindset! 

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How To Develop A Positive Mindset:

Know What Needs To Be Changed

The first step in handling problems is to identify where the issues are coming from. You can only start building a positive mindset once you know which areas of your life need to be changed.

If you’re having problems with your relationship with others, you can first focus on that area. Next, it’s helpful to identify the things you need to solve. While that sounds obvious, the main idea is to dig deep and figure out the real reason behind your problems  — sometimes, what you think is a problem actually isn’t. Next, identify the friction’s origin. Maybe it’s stress, misunderstandings between you and your friends, or other factors.

Your counselor’s role is to help you streamline your thoughts. However, it’s always helpful to have a guide that will accompany you in the process. Together, you can develop ways to approach the areas in your life that need some change. 

Manage and Accept Your Emotions

Probably one of the handiest and most important things that counseling can leave you is the ability to regulate your emotions. So many people tend to think negatively about feelings; that’s why most of them suppress them. Rather than facing their feelings, they would rather avoid them or hide them away.

Having the ability to manage your emotions is vital in many aspects of your life. Whether it’s about your relationship with others or your decisions every day, your feelings have something to do with them.

Through counseling sessions, you’ll learn how to be not overwhelmed by your emotions. You’ll also realize how your emotions can affect your relationships with others. 

More importantly, the goal here is to regulate your emotions and not suppress them. Suppressing your feelings would only lead to more internal stress and turmoil. 

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Set Time Aside For Introspection

Building a positive mindset through counseling entails creating a better relationship with yourself. First, you must be comfortable with your mind and thoughts.

As part of your counseling, your therapist will push to dedicate a portion of your time only for yourself. During this period, you can probe your feelings, thoughts, and apprehensions. Think of this time as an opportunity to know yourself better.

You must be comfortable being alone with your thoughts. If you notice that your thoughts are negative, your therapist can help you start reframing them. Try to find a better and positive way to approach these thoughts.

One thing you can do while introspecting is to recount the things you’re most grateful for. This practice makes you remember that there are always good things that happen in your life. Focusing on these things will aid you in developing a healthier and more positive mindset in life. 

Do Positive Self-Talk

An integral part of developing a positive mindset is how you speak to yourself. It’s easy to focus on the things that you lack and say negative things about yourself. However, that’s not the ideal way of living.

Negative self-talk can be in the forms of:

  • “I can’t do this.”
  • “This is too difficult for me.”
  • “I’m not good enough.”

You might not be aware of it, but you may be using these kinds of words too much. In return, these words affect how you see yourself. 

Your counselor will help you create a better mindset that includes speaking to yourself positively. They may guide you through replacing the negative words with more optimistic ones. For example, rather than saying things are too difficult, you can look at things like a challenge needed to be overcome. Words like “I can do it” and “I’m proud of my progress” are samples of positive self-talk.

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Practice a Healthy Lifestyle

Having a positive mindset is not only about the things that happen in your mind. Your physical body also plays a role in creating and living a positive lifestyle. Your counselor might recommend you to do physical activities that will keep you active and moving. 

Staying active will help you manage your emotions better. Research has proven that doing even a 30-minute exercise every day massively affects your mood. Accompany your change in lifestyle with eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated throughout the day.

Be Forgiving to Yourself

One factor that might keep you from having a positive mindset is your inability to forgive yourself. You may be putting yourself under a lot of pressure by not giving yourself some space for mistakes. 

There are things outside of your control, but the goal of counseling is to remind you of the things you have power over. There are many things that you can do beyond your limitations and failures.

Clinging to your failures and limitations will only hold you back from becoming better. Instead, undergoing counseling sessions will help you accept your limitations and failures. You can begin forming a more positive outlook in life when you can let go of your emotional burdens. Bear in mind that the past failures could never be corrected by lingering to them. What we can do is to make sure that we learned our lessons, and we are ready to do better at the present time to avoid doing any more failures.

Life comes with a lot of negativity. While you can’t avoid it, you can affect how you deal with it. And if you need help, receiving professional counseling is always a valuable step to live a healthier, happier, and more positive life.

You don’t have to wait for hard times; visit your counselor if you feel like building a healthier, positive mindset.