The feeling of anxiety is something that we all go through as a reaction to stress at one point or another. But while it’s natural, it isn’t always wanted.
Physicians to philosophers have explained anxiety in their own ways throughout history. But studies and surveys within the last few years have revealed increased levels of anxiety in individuals born between 1980 and 2000.
While most experts point the finger at technology’s affects on the brain and mood, some researchers also used tech to design a song that automatically lowers feelings of anxiety!
Anxiety in Millennials
It’s truly saddening to hear that anxiety is the reality for a large portion of millennials. In fact, it is such a reality that this era has been dubbed the Age of Desperation. Many of these young adults’ thoughts plague them day and day out, and include (but are not limited to):
- Fear of failure
- Disappointment (or disappointing someone)
- Not being good enough
- Concern with body image
- No sense of self
- Not being prepared for the future
People with anxiety are part of a spectrum disorder. This is to say that while we all may feel the things listed above, we will likely feel them to varying degrees. These feelings can leave you bed-ridden, make you act compulsively (i.e., binge eating), give you muscle and headaches, or result in panic attacks that may have negative health effects, to name some.
This is undoubtedly a challenging disorder to live with, but why are younger generations feeling such heightened anxiety?
Modern Causes of Anxiety
The most common reasons for anxiety include stressful events such as losing or trying to find a job, not having enough money, family or relationship struggles, and traumatic episodes.
In a sense, the reasons why we get anxious haven’t changed. Instead, it is our surroundings that have made the risk of anxiety increase. Bear with us.
Anxiety and Technology
Here is a (not so funny) joke: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Technology…and it’s here to stay.
One thing that surrounds all of us, whether we like it or not, is technology. Furthermore, we can see the huge role that social media plays in the lives of those living in the Age of Desperation or our younger generations.
Whereas older generations felt the same stresses we feel today, social media now plays a part in making younger generations hyper-aware of everything that’s going on in everyone else’s lives. Clearly, this can be detrimental and we are now seeing the effects of extensive social media use in students who spend up to ten hours a day on their phones.
One study revealed that 60% of students and young adults check their phones every fifteen minutes or less. And when you’re constantly looking at what other people are doing, comparing yourself to them can take a toll. Unfortunately, separating adolescents from their devices to avoid these comparisons can actually trigger their stress levels.
The ‘FOMO’ Factor – Fear Of Missing Out
FOMO – or, the fear of missing out – is a term used to describe exactly that. Technology is a blessing because it allows us to keep up with everything from friends to world news. But the irony is that more screen time leads to less human interaction which is what everyone needs in order not to miss out and deepen the feeling of true connection.
Researchers have even explored the relationship between Facebook use and feelings of envy and depression. The results are eye-opening, although they don’t yet prove a cause-effect relationship.
After surveying more than seven-hundred American university students, they found that increased use of Facebook resulted in increased feelings of envy and depression.
According to the author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Sherry Turkle says, “Phones in our pockets offer the gratifying fantasy that we never have to be alone. The moment people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, they reach for a device.”
For Jean Twenge, the author of Generation Me, younger generations’ heightened anxiety is due to parenting styles and education systems.
“It’s much more common now for parents to tell kids they are special, and in education, it’s about boosting children’s self-esteem,” says Twenge. “Everyone gets a trophy for participating, which is not how the real world works. When [younger generations] hit their twenties and the world isn’t giving them the attention and feedback they think they deserve, they can end up anxious and depressed.”
The Anxiety-Reducing Song
So, what can we do to help lessen anxiety in a very anxious world? Apparently, this song by Marconi Union.
One study had participants solve difficult puzzles while listening to background music to see if their stress levels varied with different music. Researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K. found that one song had significant effects on their stress levels. The song “Weightless” helped the participants in two ways:
- Reduced levels of their overall anxiety by 65%
- Reduced their usual physiological resting rates by 35%
Interestingly, the group Marconi Union actually created “Weightless” with the intent of inducing a highly relaxed state. So the next time someone you know who falls under the Age of Desperation umbrella feels anxious, make sure this song gets to them. It could help more than you know.
Natural Alternatives for Anxiety
Prescriptions drugs are so often the go-to for people suffering from anxiety disorders or depression. Sadly, their health effects do more damage than good. If you are looking for some natural alternatives to anxiety medication, give these natural replacements a try.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.
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