According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, millennials endure more stress and are less able to deal with it than any other generation. To be specific, members of our generation tend to report 5.4 average stress level out of a 10-point scale, which is significantly more than baby boomers' 4.7 and mature age groups' 3.7.
You know how it is. We’ve all sent or received a text or two recently that proclaims that we can't join friends for an afternoon drink cause we've got “a lot on at the moment.” Or, maybe, you’ve found yourself procrastinating too much recently, spending hours on the internet, looking up yoga retreats and mindfulness lifehacks. And, perhaps, you leave the computer without having done any work or having done any actual yoga – and a whole lot more stressed.
There are plenty of contributing factors to how and why millennials are experiencing more stress. There are ambition addiction and a tight job market, not to mention choice overload or FOBO: Fear of Better Options, which is, in some ways, Fear of Missing Out taken to the nth level. Young people today are more likely to feel uneasy or anxious due to their knowledge of how things might have been or comparing their success to others' via social media, for example. Many of us may have developed habits which feed our social and personal stress levels. It’s time to break those habits.
Netflix is not chill
After a day at work or even over the weekend, you may feel comforted by night in binge-watching the latest new series. However, studies suggest that compulsive television consumption is anything but relaxing. In fact, we are more likely to increase our level of stress or depression after watching for as little as two hours. In the short term, putting your feet up in front of the T.V. may reduce anxiety or pressure. For long-term results, keeping your brain active is the most effective. Swap binge-watching for binge crafting and refocus your mind on something fulfilling and tangible.
Not ‘clocking out.’
We’ve got emails on our phones and laptops in our living rooms. Even if we’ve physically left work, we often haven’t left at all. Millennials are multitasking mavericks. We have multiple screens, devices, and most likely more than one job; several social groups, and the occasional hobby. In Zen Buddhism, finding simplicity and focusing is key to mindfulness. Concentrating and completing one task is far better for you than spreading yourself thinly across multiple tasks. It'll also decrease feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety. This applies to all areas of our lives; spend one day spring cleaning your home, rather than seeing cleaning as a constant and stressful daily battle.
Get up, stand up
We’ve all heard that exercise is a great way to combat poor mental health. And it's true. It may seem odd, but studies show that sedentary lifestyles lead to higher levels of anxiety. In this, it's important to understand what’s stopping us from standing up. Computers, phones, and television all require seated concentration and reduce blood flow throughout the body. Yes, you may need to sit down at work but balance this by walking home or allocating screen-free time into your schedule.
Boost your financial wellbeing
It’s been discovered that those who are the most stressed are more likely to spend. Splashing cash as a form of therapy may, in the short term, keep your bad feelings at bay. However, it's important to resist pulling yourself into financial stress, which typically causes us to neglect family, friends, and work. To avoid overspending, its ideal to create a budget and open a savings account. But neither of these are especially fun. Why not try rewarding yourself with free activities and simple pleasures? There’s plenty of freebies available online and through apps that keep you up-to-date with cash-free fun, essentials, and bonuses for your favorite activities and retailers.
Don’t let stress rule your relationship with your work, phone or friends. For the first step in starting any new life plan, whether it’s diet, exercise or work, you first must shake off those bad habits. And stress is no different; shake the habits and refocus your attention on what you love.
It’s important to remember that comparison really can be the primary killer of happiness. Stop comparing your life to others that you see on social media and appreciate what you, yourself, have achieved. Work towards tangible results to be proud of, instead of spending your life watching TV shows on Netflix. Focusing on one task instead of spreading yourself too thin across many is also likely to save you from pulling your hair out and lead to better results too.
Ultimately, being more productive will even save you money; as we mentioned earlier in this article, splashing the cash is a form of therapy, which can lead to a downhill financial spiral – resulting in even more stress!
Do you feel more confident now that you've read our tips? Do you have any other tips to share with fellow readers? Let us know in the comments.