Young Adults and Stress.

According to media sources, Generation Y are those “Millennials” who were born between 1980 and 2000. The generation who have been shaped by technology. We only have to look at the explosion of social media and the selfie to help us understand this. These young people are technical wizards – masters at flipping between screens and online conversations and as a result are fantastic at multi tasking. Everything is so immediate for them. Everything is suddenly at their finger tips. They are the generation that “have it all”.

So why are they so stressed? Why are they now feelings the pressures?

As a Childline counsellor I am seeing problems appearing that, quite frankly weren’t around in my day ( well if they were, nobody talked about them and they were very much happening behind the scenes.) Issues like self harm, eating disorders and the overall sense of not measuring up to expectations are very much on the rise.

I feel that the young people of today are under so many pressures to conform and to fit in and yet they are told that if they don’t stand out from the crowd they just won’t make it.

What is causing the rise in their anxieties?

The factory-line of exams starting with the 11plus, is now unrelenting, giving our children very little opportunity to let off steam and recharge the batteries. I remember my lower 6 year was a doss. Our teenagers however, have now been denied this luxury – there is just no time to take the foot off the pedal.

The personal statement which has to be submitted for university applications is an ordeal in itself. No longer are good grades the ticket to further education, now our children have to have skills that I was still amassing in my late twenties.

Is social media to blame?

When I was at school and university we were able to get home and shut the door – to escape some of our daily social and academic pressures. Social media has negated all this. Now, we are open to scrutiny every hour of every day. There is no escape and there is no sanctuary. Blimey, even future employers are able to Google us.

We are now able to compare our mediocre lives (warts and all) with everyone else’s perfectly edited versions of themselves – and it can be very stressful and demoralising. Because we now have a window into the everyday lives of our friends and colleagues, we witness all the fun that they appear to be having whilst we are stuck in the humdrum of our lives, in front of our screens.

The young are comparing each other’s lives to the nth degree; coining the phrase #FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out ). Comparing relationships, grades, appearance, salaries, friends, clothes, holidays and overall achievements; the list is endless. Surveys are showing however, that for these Generation Y’ers behind all their ‘edited bravado’, many of them are buckling under the pressures. They are experiencing a lack of contentment, self-belief is diminishing, wellbeing and fitness is on a decline and mental health issues are on the rise.

So many young people nowadays are showing signs of anxiety and depression. They are physically and emotionally exhausted. Technology is making it so much easier for people to talk to their friends online. Even when we are alone we can still interact with others. But it is this lack of physical connection that is isolating the young even more and hence exacerbating their problems. The fact that our children are spending more time indoors with electronics and hence are exercising less means that there is no release valve for their pent up anxieties and frustrations. No wonder these young people are feeling that they aren’t measuring up. No wonder they are having to set higher expectations and standards for themselves, in the quest to be as exciting and successful as their counterparts. This alas, is taking its toll.

There is however a flip to this.

These days there are more opportunities for us to talk about our feelings and emotions – if we want to. There is more support available, if you are prepared to ask for it. There are better resources being made available for the children and young people of today in the effort to support them with their personal difficulties.

It speaks volumes that the waiting lists for medical help and counselling are growing on a year by year basis. I don’t think we even had a pastoral care teacher when I was at school.

But many young people are afraid to reach out in case they are deemed weak and inadequate. Afraid to admit that they are feeling a huge sense of anxiety and overwhelm. I believe that it is terribly important that we encourage our young to talk and to be open about how they are feeling, before their problems become too big for them to manage. By sharing their issues we can help them overcome their anxieties and empower them to face a brighter and more positive future.

So if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed or know someone who might need someone to talk to – give me a call – I can help.

Much Love 💕

Supporting Parents in Building a Mentally Healthier and
Happier Generation of Young People