From Selena Gomez to Emma Stone to Miley Cyrus, many celebrities have come out into the open talking loud and clear about a problem that made their lives difficult: anxiety. And surprisingly (or not so much), most of your fans felt identified, and are there more people who have it now than ever before, or have we started to give it visibility? The truth is that anxiety in the millennial generation has reached its peak and here we tell you why.
It’s true. It’s true. Anxiety seems to be the common denominator among an entire generation, so much so that it has been declared the highest levels ever reported by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). In addition, according to the University of Berkeley, only fifty-one percent of millennials have sufficient tools to manage anxiety. And women are 60 percent more likely than men to experience anxiety at some point in their lives.
But why do millennials have more anxiety than other generations?
As in almost everything in life, there is no single explanation for this phenomenon, but a combination of factors. Some of them are:
The disaster of perfection
A study by the APA found that most millennials experience what is called “multidimensional perfectionism,” that is, a pressure to achieve higher and higher goals, measured by higher and higher standards as well. And on top of that, the experts also discovered that we also have and feel the pressure of the evaluation of our peers (friends, acquaintances…), and of the people around us. That is to say, if before we were subject to the direct scrutiny of thirty or forty people, now with social networks and the Internet the figure rises exponentially, and with it the anxiety generated by the evaluation of others. Which inevitably leads us to the second factor…
The very brains behind our favorite social networks have spoken out against it. For Justin Rosenstein, the engineer who created the Facebook “Like” button “Snapchat is like heroin”, so he has banned himself from these social applications. The truth is that the need to be approved by others, the value of likes, the number of followers, the obligation to answer (and fast) quickly become a burden that can clearly translate into high levels of anxiety.
We are promised that we can “eat the world”, but it is rarely fulfilled.
Advertising, society, everyone agreed that “millennials would get where they wanted to go”, but the reality has been very different. This is something that happens to most of us, because although we did everything we “had” to do (study a career, do a postgraduate course, do an internship, learn English and other languages)… and “we kept our part of the bargain”, we did not achieve the job we were promised. And as much as we understand that not everything depends on us, that sense of professional frustration generates suitcases and (you guessed it!): anxiety.
Add to this the fact that directly linked to the previous point is the impossibility of having their own home, they have less sex than previous generations, they drink coffee beyond their means and sleep little or nothing.
So what can we do at the first signs of anxiety? There are two ways to deal with it: mentally and physically.
On the mental level:
Is this objective and real what I am thinking and what causes me anxiety? Many times we sink into the thoughts that come into our heads, and not all of them are so real after all. Questioning them and adjusting them to reality, to those objective data that we do have helps to minimize anxiety.
Divide the tasks into subpoints that you can do and conclude, this will make them not seem so unreachable and therefore you do not feel unable to tackle them.
Ask yourself if what you’re so afraid of can really happen, what are the real consequences it can have, what can you do if it does? Chances are you’re imagining the worst-case scenario, but it’s not necessarily the most likely. So if you plan a strategy to deal with whatever it is that makes you anxious and anxious, it helps you feel that you have some control over the situation.
Don’t avoid it, we’re too old to believe we can sweep it under the mat and get rid of our problems like we did in the movies. The truth is that when we avoid something (whether it is a thought or a behavior) we are making the negative response it generates in us more and more powerful. Dealing with things, even if they don’t go well’ or as we expected, will always be positive.
It prioritizes and sets a “rational” and realistic agenda. But do it in the morning, first thing in the morning, never at night, when we’re already in bed, but forget about sleeping. Write down the tasks for the day, but realistically, include a lot of things that we know we won’t be able to do at first, but that will overwhelm us and make us feel like we can’t do it. Let us prioritize: what is truly urgent, when can we do the rest?
First you, second everything else. Take some time every day to do some activity that you find enjoyable. This helps us to be more relaxed, strengthens our self-esteem and puts us in a better mood. Whether it’s coloring mandalas and making crafts or anything that involves activity and is not passive like watching television.
On a physical level:
Exercise: run, sign up for a Zumba, boxing, or pilates class, whatever you like and feel good about and able to do. Physical exercise is very beneficial because in the process it releases serotonin which lowers anxiety levels.
Encourage yourself to do yoga, which beyond the beliefs and “mystical” aspects that yoga may have, is actually a physical activity that can help us fight anxiety because it occupies our brain with movements and postures and we put aside our worries, all while we exercise too.
What happens when we are unable to handle anxiety? In case we feel overwhelmed if we don’t have the necessary tools to address the situation or don’t know how to do it, it is best to go to a professional.