The Plight of Millennials: Young, Broke and Stressed
2/11/2013 11:49:00 AM
And some think a mid life crisis is bad. Word is millennials- people between the ages of 18 and 34- are the most stressed-out generation. More than half of people in this age group say their stress keeps them up at night. Experts blame say unemployment and debt, lack of purpose, and stable relationships contribute to their anxiety. While some things you can’t control – like the economy – you can control how you react to stress. Health experts warn that stress is a major factor in such health conditions as obesity, diabetes and heart problems.
Here's the breakdown of what the survey found:
Millennials (age 18-33) in particular seem to have trouble managing their stress and getting health care that meets their needs. The Stress in America survey found Millennials reporting an average stress level of 5.4 on a 10-point scale, exceeding the national average (4.9). This generation also gives its health care lower marks than Americans across the country: Millennials are less likely than people nationwide to give their health care an "A" grade (25 percent versus 31 percent). Nearly half of Millennials (49 percent) do not believe or are not sure that they are doing enough to manage their stress, and few say they get stress or behavior management support from their health care provider. Only 23 percent think that their health care provider supports them a "lot or a great deal" in their desire to make healthy lifestyle and behavior changes, and just 17 percent say the same about their health care providers' support for stress management.
And then there are dreams deferred for this group. We all have dreams or goals that sometime get set aside due to…well...life! For instance, Gen-X (ages 34 to 47) have their first home, have builded a family and hold a solid job or career. But now because of financial reasons and degrees that don’t land to automatic jobs, this younger group may have to delay some of their expectations. But they can’t figure how to solve these issues. Nearly 40% of millennials said their stress shot up in the last year and this group is worse at problem-solving. Then not wanting to talk about their stress isn’t helping.
As a woman who works with youth, I know the difficulty they face. I also know those who have been impacted by having young parents who were more focused on themselves at one point than their kids. I see where too much freedom and lack of discipline has hindered some of our youth. Yet, I see those who are solid and going in the right direction but need some encouragement. And yes, I know some older adults believe this generation wants immediate gratification, are spoiled, lazier and tend to think the world “owes them”. I don’t believe that is all Millenials but with some of the things I see in our communities, this may be the case with some. I often question has this generation been properly prepared to venture out into the world. And if not, how do we correct?
I believe getting help to manage stress, finding a purpose beyond making money and having a solid spiritual life with God can help. But for even more practical tips, Yahoo Shine lists three steps to help this group deal with stress in an article by Jessica Ferri. As explained by Dr. Lynn Bufka, one of the psychologists who developed the Stress in America report, she suggests:
Carve out personal time and learn how to say no
“One of the most difficult things to do when you’re stressed is to make time for yourself, but it’s essential. Take a step back and ask, ‘is there anything I can ditch to reduce these stressors?’ Set boundaries in terms of your work and social life, and make time for exercise, sleep, and relaxation.
Reconfigure your expectations
Follow the example of Gen Xers who have had to reconfigure their expectations. Just because you feel pressure to have reached a certain position or a certain salary doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve failed.
How you interpret stressful situations is everything
How many times have we all stressed ourselves out over what turned out to be nothing? “How we interpret situations has a huge impact on stress. If you always go for the negative assumption, your stress levels will be high. There could be a much more rational explanation—don’t jump to the worst conclusion.”
Don’t lose hope, Millennials. When you do that, you stop trying. As Ecclesiastes 11:6 says, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Wake up everyday with purpose, passion and pursue. You never know when your harvest is coming.