Bombarded by social media, trapped with streaming services, too much choice, too many options – it is hard being a millennial. And to top it all, there is the slight twitch of the lips and the almost hidden roll of the eyes that come complimentary with any mention of ‘millennial problems’.
But we need to cut these young people some slack. While surviving plague and world wars and famine and persecution don’t quite compare to the exhaustion of keeping one’s social profiles always spiffy and updated, there’s plenty that the millennial needs to worry about.
For instance, until not very recently, there wasn’t the concept of right swipe or left swipe, tinder was something that people used for kindling fires and being turned down by a member of the opposite sex needed at least eye contact and a functioning knowledge of the other person – stuff like real names. Cut to the 21st century and plenty of millennials spend frightening amounts of time obsessing over what it might take for them to ‘fit in’ and merit as many right swipes as possible.
Having said that, the intent of this piece is not to be facetious; it is indeed to explore what goes on in the mind of the increasingly burdened young global citizen. To help us with that here are some quick insights:
- Millennials are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide than generations past.
- Lonely millennials are twice as likely to face depression or anxiety.
- The figures showed that the odds of experiencing mental health problems for those who identified as lonely more than doubled while their chances of being unemployed increased by 38 percent.
- It also found that millennials with high loneliness levels were prone to engage in “physical health risk behaviors” and were more likely to adopt negative coping strategies, such as smoking and not exercising.
- Then they have to contend with greater competitiveness, a continued focus on individualism, and overbearing and anxious parents who became the first generation of human parents to do something called ‘overparenting’!
- Neoliberal meritocracy itself comes at a cost. Thomas Curran, from the University of Bath and Andrew Hill, of York St. John University said, “Meritocracy places a strong need for young people to strive, perform, and achieve in modern life. Young people are responding by reporting increasingly unrealistic educational and professional expectations for themselves. As a result, perfectionism is rising among millennials.
- Urban cultures worldwide have become more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic over this period, with young people now facing more competitive environments, more unrealistic expectations, and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before.
So what can be done? The answer lies in creating experiences that empower the millennial to take a deep breath, take a step back and focus on reconnecting with their inner selves. Painting is a great way to do just that. So are music and board games and rock climbing.
All the Millennial in Need needs to do is intend to make the change. Automatically s/he will begin to look at the work with new eyes. And they will see for themselves that it is possible for them to #ChangeTheGame and come out winners!