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The Et Cetera

Why our generation is stressed

By Ana Nunez

To most older Americans, young adults nowadays are a lazy bunch who are too dependent on technology and don’t have any substantial problems or stress.
If you expect anyone older than 40 to understand and actually sympathize with young adults who are under a lot of pressure, forget it. It’s not going to happen.
The reality is that the more we have become categorized into age groups that form a generation’s criteria, the more divorced we have become from each other’s reality.
Stress is a common feeling for most Americans. The latest stress survey, “Stress in America,” conducted by The American Psychological Association, revealed that Millenials (ages 18-33) have the highest levels of stress compared to other generations that were surveyed. Thirty-nine percent of Millenials said their stress had increased within the last year, compared to 36 percent of Generation Xers (34-47 years old), 33 percent of Boomers (48-66 years old) and 29 percent of Matures (67 and older).
All generations said they had experienced higher stress levels than what they believed was healthy, but Matures were the closest to having their stress levels in line with what is defined as a healthy stress level for their group.
What could young people possibly be stressing about? Could it be that their smartphone just became outdated? They weren’t able to get ahold of the latest kicks? They blew all their money on fast food? Game Stop ran out of the video game they stood in line three hours to buy? Their jeans tore even more than they were already intentionally torn? Or maybe they spilled their Starbucks latte before finishing it?
These are the sort of things older generations actually think young people are stressing about.
How far off is their misconception, though? After all, young people have their whole lives ahead of them and don’t have any real stressors. Or do they?
Maybe those who are a part of the older generation have forgotten the harsh reality young Americans wake up to every day.
Young Americans don’t have secure jobs for their entire lives with pensions, and our government is in so much debt that Social Security benefits probably won’t be there when retirement comes around. School loans are expected to be paid in full despite the bad economy, and if you’re jobless six months after graduation, the government still won’t forget you owe them money.
Independence is also being lost when college graduates have to go back to live with parents while they establish their career.
If you have children and are in this age group, the situation is even tougher.
These are only some difficulties that young Americans face, but they are more than enough to have a negative impact.
In the past month, 52 percent of young Americans say stress has kept them awake at night, and they are being diagnosed by a health care provider with depression or an anxiety disorder more than any other age group.
According to the same survey, 19 percent of Millenials are diagnosed with depression and 12 percent of with anxiety; 14 percent of Gen Xers are diagnosed with depression and 8 percent with anxiety; 12 percent Boomers have been diagnosed with depression and 12 percent with anxiety; and 11 percent of Matures have been diagnosed with depression and 4 percent with anxiety.
The numbers speak for themselves. Millennials grew up in the booming 90s when the economy was thriving, technology kept improving and possibilities seemed endless.
These young people were thrown off pace suddenly when the economy changed post-9/11.
In many cases, their parents lost jobs, some lost their homes to foreclosure, and stress was no longer just something their parents experienced, but something passed on to them as well.
These aren’t the same problems other generations experienced, but they are just as grave.
It’s time to recognize young Americans have quite a lot on their plates, and that our lives are not all fun and games.

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