As discussed in my last blog, stress is an unavoidable part of modern life and we all have some experience of what it is like to feel stressed. However, when it comes to analysing the common causes of stress it is essential to take into consideration our expectations and how these expectations seem to be in a way affected by the generation we were born into.
Today’s society has higher expectations than past generations and when those expectations are not being met it causes people to feel unhappy and disappointed with their lives. This raises a question whether there exists a connection between the levels of stress that we experience and generation we were born into.
Every generation has its own challenges and there are big differences between the generations, especially when it comes to levels of stress experienced by a group of people born around the same time. From all the generations, the so called Millennials or Generation Y (people born between 1977 and 1995) are more depressed than other generations as a result of struggles and pressures of modern society.
Millennials have grown up surrounded by mobile phones and computers and they cannot remember a time when there was no internet. They have been sheltered in many ways by their parents who cleared their path from any obstacles and they guarded them from any criticism and as a result Millennials find it difficult to deal with even relatively minor blows. Moreover, they were told by their parents that they could be anything they want to be and they were encouraged to follow their dreams, only for many Millennials to grow up and live an average life.
Millennials are a generation of well-educated, globally minded people with vast amount of opportunities. Nonetheless, many of them find it extremely difficult to commit to anything due to them feeling overwhelmed by all these opportunities presented to them. As a result, they get overwhelmed and feel suffocated by all the choices and they struggle to grasp one opportunity in fear to regret it or regret missing out on other opportunities. The seemingly limitless choices that they are surrounded by don’t offer them freedom, quite the opposite, they increase their stress levels due to the high expectations they have placed on themselves.
Graduating from college is seen as insufficient accomplishment and Millennials are expected to continue their education. However, they come out of college or university with a huge student debt and immediately enter a job market where there are not many jobs. As a result, money is a significant stressor for them and their worries about their future are justified due to their struggle to find employment.
In order to cope with all the stress Millennials take up unhealthy coping strategies. They turn to alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescribed), smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthy food and participate mainly in sedentary activities, such as playing video games, sitting in front of the TV and surfing the Internet, to manage stress.
Millennials also report having problems with depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, this generation is not necessarily more depressed or anxious than people of past generations, but they are more equipped to recognize mental health illnesses.
Millennials are concerned about their safety as terrorism has become an expected part of their lives. Furthermore, as a result of 9/11 terrorists attacks they have airport security and constant warnings to report suspicious people who might be planning acts of terrorism.
Millennials fear the future and they get stressed by the decisions made by other generations. Especially, Boomers Generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) who they see as a generation of people who have managed to complicate their future with their decisions. Boomers are the Trumpers who want to make America great again and believe that Trump is the right person to make it happen. Boomers live in the past and they are the Brexitteers who remember when Britain was great and they believe that coming out of Europe will get Britain where it was years ago. However, this would not be taking into consideration how long it might take and how much it will affect the younger generation as Boomers might not be affected by the aftermath as much as the Millennials.
In conclusion, all the above mentions the struggles and pressures that Millennials have to face on a daily basis and how this contributes to the high levels of stress they experience and causes the Millennials to be described as the most depressed generation of all times.