Many have ventured various guesses for why millennials seem to be the generation plagued with incredibly high levels of anxiety. Whether it’s an increased use of technology or the dawn of social media, these theories have seemed to hold up after more millennials reported feeling nervous rather frequently. Alongside a global pandemic, this phenomenon seems to have worsened over the last year.
According to Mindbodygreen, the key word that can surmise the issue is uncertainty. Caroline Leaf, PhD, studied various levels of brain activity amongst different age groups to find the causes of anxiety and other mental illnesses. Leaf told the outlet that millennials may start to feel the weight of the future at this point, but “can see the future as more tangible—so it’s kind of there, but they can’t see their way through.”
Essentially, people born between 1981 and 1996 can see what they want, but struggle when it comes to knowing how to get there. Feeling unsure combined with a global pandemic can be too much for anyone to handle on their own, thus they report feelings of intense anxiety. As more and more millennials struggle to find what they want out of life, the anxiety levels continue to rise.
Millenials are twice as anxious as boomers were in their 20s and 30s
The levels of anxiety across the generation are staggering. Byrdie cites a study that reveals 12 percent of millennials have received an official diagnosis of anxiety, compared to the six percent of baby boomers during this period of their lives. Kalev Rudolph, a cultural critic, offered his thoughts to the outlet, saying, “This generation has witnessed a significant shift in how humans understand distribution of resources, and they’ve seen the precariousness and limitations of the planet. The transformation of the world as we know it has had a big effect on millennials, and it’s evident in every aspect of their lives.”
But, perhaps the most telling, Rudolph added, “Millennials have seen two major economic collapses, higher rates of divorce among their parents, a skyrocketing student loan crisis and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Altogether, these events have created a sense of uncertainty, doubt and fear for what the future holds.”
Combined with the current climate, millennials are reaching the age where many worry about the future, making way for anxious tendencies. As for mitigating these feelings, taking a step back from technology and supporting your brain may be a helpful antidote. Christy Pennison offered Byrdie a few tools, including to “identify whether or not you are taking time to do the things that can help relax your body or calm your mind. Find time to engage in things that support your mental health, and avoid the things that trigger anxiety in your life. A great way to do this is by minimizing social media use, and finding other healthy ways to deal with stress.”
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