What is up with the Millennials?

The “Millennials” are defined as Generation Y or those born between the early 1980’s and 2000.

It seems the lives of this generation are even more complicated than mine being a late baby boomer.  Our world is changing so quickly, just think back 10 years ago and what your cell phone looked like if you had one.

Being interested in “resilience” and how people experience change, I am intrigued by their experiences and what is shaping them!  Those early years of adulthood seem very different for them than those I had experienced. 

Don’t get me wrong, different does not mean bad.  What does concern me is a recent statistic which said that this demographic experiences depression and anxiety in a magnitude like we have never known.

So lets examine some of the realness they are experiencing.  Many of them are making less money, fewer are finding jobs and housing is more expensive.  This gets expanded as they focus on comparing themselves to others. Social Media is playing a very big role here.

In fact a recent study by Emerson Csoba, director of Gen Y Inc. and a “Global Shaper” with the World Economic Forum, found that millennial workers are suffering from “ruthless comparison.”

Csorba arrived at his conclusion after he interviewed hundreds of twentysomethings in the U.K. One told him: “We are a generation that is ruthlessly comparing ourselves with those around us and our role models at the same time. And if we are not doing something exceptional or don’t feel important and fulfilled for what we are doing, we have a hard time.”

There are a few factors at play:

  • The first is social media — or, more specifically, the tendency of users to embellish and promote their achievements online.

  • The second is media stories about successful millennials — people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, or Snapchat creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. Stories about people like them can remind millennials that they’re “never doing enough,” Csorba wrote.

  • The final cause is that millennials are being confronted with too many options to achieve success, that are being shared through outlets such as TED Talks and self-help media.

It is easy to see how this creates confusion and interrupted focus.  The Millennials find themselves dissatisfied and wondering if they should be doing something different.  I have been told about a phenomena called FOMO.  FOMO stands for fear of missing out! This generation spends time wondering if they should be doing, seeing and experiencing something else and with the speed of technology their senses are constantly being bombarded.

So what is causing their stress and anxiety.  In a recent report in “Psychology Today” noted ¾ of millennials today cite money as a “somewhat” or “very significant” cause of anxiety.  The same amount cited work as the source of their stress, and they are overwhelmed by choice and options and fear of regretting a decision.

So what are their options to de-stress? 

Many of these ways are new to this demographic.  It is important to calm the cortisol reaction that has become the norm for many.  The ease will come with slow and steady practice of a series of techniques.

“Embracing solitude” — putting the phone and the laptop away, and taking time for quiet reflection are a giant step forward.

 

Hobbies are often helpful, whether it is photography, painting or gardening, they all provide for the quiet space to go within.

Meditation, yoga and ways to build resilience using breath are also examples to strengthen their bodies’ responses to day-to-day experiences.

 

The next time you hear someone chastise this generation, I ask you to pause and reflect on their experiences.  If you would like to know more about strategies to build resilience, be more confident in the face of stress and feel better overall, let’s do a complimentary discovery call.

With love and appreciation,

B.

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