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Generation Apathy

Albert Einstein reflecting on the negative consequences of apathy.

Albert Einstein reflecting on the negative consequences of apathy.

Nada Awadalla, Editor

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“Yeah it’s cool, I don’t really care,” you say as your heart tears apart, and emotion overfills your body. This is a line that we have all heard and perhaps have even said way too many times, despite what we truly felt.  Widespread apathy among the younger generation of adults is not only detrimental to their mental health and overall performance in everyday tasks, but to society as a whole.

 

What is Apathy

First of all, most people don’t actually know what apathy is, or if they are exhibiting it. Apathy is not simply indifference or lack of interest, it can be suppression of emotion (such as sadness, anger, happiness, or disappointment) that is already present within an individual.

 

Although apathy is most present in people who experience mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and dementia, it is something that all people face to some extent, and can even be beneficial in a few cases (e.g. needing to let go of extremely negative emotions and thoughts). However, in most cases apathy can hinder a person from reaching their potential and has been proven to be contagious among groups of people.

 

For instance, in a paper published in the August, 2014 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Pontus Leander, James Shah, and Stacey Sanders proved that people who either have a high or low commitment to a goal are most affected by apathy.  When viewing others exhibiting apathy, subjects who were hesitant about their goals tended to imitate their apathetic companions and were more likely  to give up on the simplest of tasks. However, interestingly enough, highly committed individuals tended to increase their commitment after being exposed to apathy in others.

 

What Causes Apathy

Unfulfilled expectations, entitlement and lack of achievements are a few of the things that can cause long term apathy. Also, having structure in everyday life is crucial for remaining focused on and motivated about specific goals. One should set deadlines for themselves and make note of small accomplishments throughout their entire day, week or month in order to limit the amount of free time that can lead to over-relaxation and laziness.

 

How to Combat Apathy

Long term apathy is often a precursor to anxiety and depression, so it is vital for one to recognize it early on and try to remove themselves away from certain situations and people that trigger or increase that feeling.

 

Try to have a greater perspective on life and realize that your present state isn’t going to last forever. Eventually, you will have to either depend on yourself, change, or find something that truly inspires you.

 

Find contentment and joy in the little things that you already have, so that you’ll be able to gain and experience more in life.

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