Do you feel stressed out more often than not? If so, you’re not alone. Millennial burnout, stemming from chronic, mismanaged stress, has been a hot topic this year and been talked about everywhere from BuzzFeed to NBC. The World Health Organization has even gone so far as to recognize it as an official, legitimate diagnosis.
In short: Millennial stress is real. But just how stressed out are they, and why?
Lhasa OMS recently conducted a survey of over 2,000 Americans to explore exactly that. The respondents, between the ages of 18 and 37, answered candidly about their stressors, stress levels and coping mechanism – and provided fascinating insight.
Right off the bat, the level of stress millennials are experiencing is alarming. A staggering 80% say they’re stressed out several times per week, and even further, almost half are stressed out every day. That’s a lot of stress, and while women are more stressed out than men – 86% are stressed multiple times per week as opposed to 73% – what’s stressing them out is the same: money and work pressure. Can money buy happiness when it comes to work and life? Perhaps. 91% said that a higher-paying job would allow them to feel less stressed in their everyday lives.
When asked what they’re most stressed about, respondents’ top reasons were finances, work pressure and work-life balance. The list continues, with others citing mental and physical health, relationships, politics and social media. It’s a long list, clocking in at 15 stressors, and it’s a list that drives many of the respondents to believe that life today is more stressful than for generations prior.
Yes, 78% of respondents believe that life is more stressful today than for previous generations. Why? Much like their list of everyday stressors, millennials cited once more money, work and politics.
More debt, a more competitive job market and more expensive healthcare topped the list. Other, equally serious triggers like the future of the nation and planet rounded out the selection.
- More debt
- More competitive job market
- More expensive healthcare
- Future of the nation
- Political climate
- Future of the planet
- Technology or media overload
- Online social pressure
- Identity theft
- Online bullying
Carrying that much stress isn’t good for a person, and the side effects – emotional, behavioral and physical – show it.
An alarming amount of respondents (77%) said they are prone to anxiety during times of stress. Other emotional side effects included feeling overwhelmed, becoming more easily angered, losing motivation and sinking into a depressive episode.
Over half said they isolate themselves during times of stress, a behavioral symptom that isn’t surprising, considering one in five don’t feel they have a support system to rely on when they’re stressed. Other effects included changes in diet (36%) and abuse of drugs or alcohol (21%).
Fatigue took the top spot when it comes to physical side effects, followed closely by insomnia, physical burnout and restlessness.
Coping with Stress
Despite such awareness of their stressors and impacts of them, only 12% of respondents say that they regularly make time to decompress. When they do, most turn to TV or movies, music, sleep eating or exercising.
Even though 56% say that technology or media overload is a major stressor, stepping away from the screen to take time for a technology detox comes as the least common way to cope (9%).
While the study doesn’t offer insight on how to lower millennials’ stress levels, perhaps the first step is the most simple: dedicate time specifically to decompress.