Mental health issues started being an ever-increasing issue worldwide with anxiety disorder in particular. It has been present the whole time, but the amount of people having it is incredibly big these days. Why is it so? Isn't it supposed to be the other way round in a world where every aspect is more developed in comparison to the past?
To go back in time to the beginning of 2020 with the arrival of coronavirus, I need to admit that life of many has changed drastically in parallel with the events that began to come one after another, such as Australian bushfires, the BLM movement, a series of geopolitical conflicts in various countries across the globe, etc. All these circumstances have been significantly impacting people, worsening pre-existing anxiety.
Putting aside those events, a few important factors should be mentioned. We live in a unique time when access to information has become much easier and wider, but the sure thing is that it has a downside in the form of information overload.
Information overload is the amount of information that we are used to consuming every day. A raw stream of information that is left unfiltered, overwhelms the human mind. Information anxiety, therefore, harms mental health, causing stress in people, difficulties in understanding information because it reduces attention and the quality of perception.
It also has a negative impact on the quality and quantity of sleep. The chemical consistency of melatonin during sleep alters because of the constant screen light. If that impacts sleep patterns then gradually it would also affect general health conditions.
Social media plays one of the key roles in information overload but should also be looked at as a separate point that fuels anxiety nowadays. Social media creates a space for distorted self-image among people, as we naturally tend to compare our lives to those of others. Inadequate perception leads to lower self-esteem and feeling of underachievement.
Why Millenials and Gen Z Are More Anxious Than Previous Generations
Even though there is a general assumption that the contemporary generation must have it better than those of the past, it is partially true that the modern generation is more aware of mental health problems which have been a taboo topic for a long time. And many started being open about it and seeking help without hesitating which is a huge milestone.
However, with these benefits coming along, it could be noted that our generation sort of “falls behind” which in a classic term means that we are less likely to get married at a young age or find a job that would be both stable and satisfying, or buy an apartment or house soon, unlike previous generations, all of which also gives us additional pressure.
Adding the fact that we are a generation of overthinkers and perfectionists, we do not live here and now with planning too much ahead and at the same time comparing ourselves to other people. This could be also mixed with high-functioning anxiety where we perform well day to day and seem to be put together to the outer world, but have a constant battle inside. For example, we can have high expectations and be organized but ruminate a lot. We can work well under pressure and tight deadlines, but because of anxious overthinking and perfectionism, we procrastinate and feel intimidated about the future. Due to our high standards, we can be nice to be around, but because of the above-mentioned poor self-esteem, we tend to people-please a lot.
All these reasons are somehow interconnected and increase anxiety among people. As of now we are more aware of and pay attention to mental healthcare. From our side, we can do something as simple as detox digitally from time to time, meditate and practice mindfulness, exercise, take care of ourselves and reach for adequate self-esteem. However, it is also crucial to seek out professional help, if self-help methods don’t fully soothe the concerns.
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