According to the American Psychological Association, 12% of millennials have an officially diagnosed anxiety disorder—which is nearly double the percentage of baby boomers. Why have we become more anxious? Is millennial anxiety different from other generations anxiety? What new societal factors have contributed to this increase?
As a millennial, I live and experience the constant societal pressures and labels cast upon our generation by outsiders, seeking to explain our obsession with technology, financial habits, or choice of breakfast foods (I blame you Avocado toast). It could easily be argued that millennials, unlike any generation that has come before, face scrutiny at an unprecedented level. Feelings of being misunderstood, unrecognized and unappreciated from our parents, grandparents, bosses and society as a whole certainly take a toll. Self-worth and a positive attitude are so essential to a healthy mental state. The judgements of others presents unique challenges to a generation trying to define their place.
Trying to find yourself
Remember the concept of the “American Dream” from 7th grade history class? Learn a skill, get a job, buy a house in a nice suburban neighborhood with a white picket fence, have a couple kids (one boy and one girl of course) and live happily ever after. That idealistic pipe dream of Americana is long-gone, replaced by thirty-year-old basement dwellers and student debt holders. The question becomes, are those realities a function of millennial ineptitude or factors put in motion decades before we were even a twinkle in our mothers’ eye? If you ask us, we’ll tell you it’s complicated and certainly provoke millennial anxiety.
Do you suffer from millennial anxiety
With so many elements working against positive mental stability, how does one cope with the pressures lobbed at us from every which direction? How do you take all the puzzle pieces, strewn across the table, and make them fit? Millennial Anxiety takes many forms but at its core, it’s the debilitating feeling brought on when control lacking and the future is extremely uncertain.
The first step to taking control and is acknowledgment of the issue. Acknowledge that you are searching for yourself. Acknowledge the societal and interpersonal pressures. Acknowledge that finding yourself and addressing those pressures won’t come easy and will require will power and determination. Above all, acknowledge the fact that you CAN overcome and find ways to live and thrive despite it all.
Next comes awareness. We must painstakingly identify causes and effects. You must become aware of what is causing you to feel anxious and pinpoint triggers? What do those particular situations look like and how do they make you feel in the moment?
NOW OWN IT. You know what’s causing your angst, your discomfort, your sense of the world crumbling around you. Instead of drowning in it, take that energy and flip the script. Simple self-worth exercises go a long way. Try coming up with a list of 10 things you like about yourself, 10 things you enjoy doing, and 10 things you can’t live without. Think about better times and begin to take actionable steps to incorporate those thoughts and feelings into your daily life? Simple and actionable behaviors enable you to address issues head on and free yourself of the debilitating feelings of anxiety. Find your calling, your meaning and your purpose.
Invest in yourself and seek help through this journey. Find a therapist that specializes in therapy for millennials; someone who understands your generation struggle and societal pressures of millennial anxiety.
Be kind to yourself
This process is hard; this process can be daunting. It is most important to be kind to yourself! If done correctly, this exercise should bring out the best in you. Remember to commemorate achievements along the way. Remember to keep enjoying what life brings to you. We all have a purpose. Let’s find and celebrate yours!