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Millennials are the most stressed-out generation alive

Millennials are convinced they’re the most important generation yet. And in many ways they’re right.

The millennials are 18 to 33 years old, according to the American Psychological Association. They are old enough to remember a pre-Internet society, yet young enough to adapt and master the latest in cutting edge technology. Unfortunately, being the youngest generation in a highly competitive and fast-paced world has its drawbacks.

“There is a preponderance of data that really indicates (millennials are) the most stressed-out generation of college students we’ve ever had,” said Florida Gulf Coast University’s Directorof Counseling and Health Services Dr. Jon Brunner. “Plus students report (they are stressed). We have a lot of selfreported survey data that indicates the same.”

The American Psychological Association and Harris Interactive recently conducted a survey determining millennials are the most stressed-out generation alive.

In “Millennials Go To College” by Neil Howe and William Strauss, seven traits are used to characterize these children of the Baby Boomers: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, achieving, pressured and conventional.

Howe and Strauss explain how these children have been highly sheltered as their parents “advocated on (their child’s) behalf and ‘spared’ children from unpleasant experiences.”

They have also been described as a generation with a sense of entitlement who ceaselessly crave attention, as every milestone in their life has been acknowledged and rewarded.

The APA explains that millennials have the most difficulty managing their stress.

On a 10-point scale, one being no stress and 10 being the most stress, the national average is 4.9. The average rate of stress for millennials is 5.4. The APA also says 49 percent of millennials do not believe or aren’t sure they are doing enough to manage their stress.

“I think we are stressed out,” said Jessica Arias, a 21 year-old junior and special education major at FGCU. “I know I’m stressed out. I have to work and go to school and deal with family and extracurricular activities. It’s just a lot.”

Millennials have been told to succeed, especially when it comes to college. They see universities as the path to a better future, and the pressure to be the best can be suffocating.

In this generation, the focus is on raising GPAs.

“Milennials are the first generation since World War II to be confronted with higher academic standards than the last generation – and to show early signs of meeting those standards,” said Howe and Strauss in their book “Millennials Rising.”

With such high expectations, millennials must learn how to cope with the stress their generation has branded as “normal.”

“Stress is kind of the model experience for students but the issue is when it becomes unmanageable,” Dr. Brunner said. “You have to make the distinction. Is it day-to-day stress, or is it something that really impacts your ability to succeed?”

Some millennials, such as junior early childhood education major Jaquela Cameron, feel that an increase in societal issues has contributed to the generational stress.

“Not only that, the economy is going down but prices are going up for tuition, everything is constantly changing.”

Other students feel the millennials are not the most stressed-out generation and that prior generations, such as the baby boomers, felt more pressure than today’s 18 to 33 year olds.

“I don’t think we’re more stressed out. Society (for previous generations) was pushing people more into the workforce right out of high school,” said Joe Rogers, 24, a senior finance major. “There was a lot of pressure on people to have a family and get a mortgage and do those big things right out of high school. People are able to delay that more nowadays. They’re not forced to grow up as quick.”

This gives the millennials more time to think about how important they are. FGCU offers many workshops provided by Counseling and Psychological Services for students who find their stress level is out of control.

Each workshop is skill based and range from topics such as “sleep hygiene” to relaxation strategies.

“We do a life skill series with anxiety management.We have an ongoing group
that deals with stress management from a different perspective. They use eastern philosophies such as yoga to learn how to deal with stress,” Dr. Brunner said.

On the Feb. 21 there is a workshop on mindfulness techniques. Then, on Feb. 28 CAPS will host a program called “Stress Management.”

On March 14, there is a workshop for relaxation strategies. The last workshop of the semester will be April 11 and will deal with testing anxiety. All workshops begin at 5 pm.

If you are a student struggling with stress, Dr. Brunner and CAPS urge students to call  Counseling and Health Services at (239)-590-7950. The line is active 24/7 and is answered by a live person for students struggling with stress.

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