From strenuous internships, pressing career choices to hectic college assignments and competitive lifestyles, millennials are surrounded by stress-inducing problems which make it harder than usual.
Millennials don’t have it easy; there are tough taskmasters, expectant parents and misunderstanding friends. Every other day there is news of student suicides. In India, student suicides have reached a new low. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the number in 2016 alone stood at 9,474—that’s one suicide every 55 minutes. With depression being a major reason behind suicides, the cause for depression varies.
Someone recently posed a question on social media-“Why are there so many unhappy teens?”
Conventional education system, disoriented families, lessening threshold for emotions, addiction- the list runs long. As such what can one do to cope better? Psychologist Seema K says, “Teens and young adults have a lot to deal with. Problems are no more single layered, the issues have multifarious layers, each different or similar to the other. What most of them face is stress, which if not dealt with leads to other manifestations. Stress, more often than not is the symptom to an unhealthy mental onset, which can be depression or something more clinically severe like a mental disorder.”
The first step towards dealing with mentally taxing situations is to remain stress-free or lessen the stress. Stress is the body’s response to physical, mental, or emotional changes, situations, and forces. Each person reacts differently to stress. According to psychologists, a healthy response to stress begins quickly and can improve function, motivation, and productivity.
Here are some effective measures to reduce stress in everyday life:
Digital detox refers to taking a break from electronic devices and gadgets for a period of time. In a world dominated by smartphones and hashtags, digital triumphs reality. Teens and young adults prefer digital interactions over face to face ones. While mothers complain about the long hours spent looking at screens, psychologists agree. According to psychologists, teens and young adults often suffer from low esteem and similar feelings by watching the lives of other people which they feel is better than theirs. “They feel the pressure to live up to the expectations set by friends and acquaintances. This induces pressure which results in stress. They fear that they are not good enough which makes them take rash decisions and adopt unhealthy habits.
They also fear that if they are a minute away from the phone, life will change. We term it the fear of missing out (FOMO),” states Seema. “As such digital detox is often suggested to disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with the world around.”
To encourage yourself for a digital detox start with setting achievable targets. For example, you can refrain from using the phone during school/college hours or while talking to friends. Make time for yourself and your thoughts while you keep the phone or tablet away. Go out for a walk or have lunch with others instead of browsing through the phone.
Similarly, one can even go for a digital detox holiday wherein one refrains from using the phone, replying to mails or converse via gadgets.
Regular Physical Activity
A healthy mind needs a healthy body. In addition to keeping the body fit and burning precious calories, exercising or engaging in similar physical activities release endorphins. These ‘happy hormones’ reach the brain and act as natural painkillers. Regular physical activities improve the ability to sleep which in turn reduces stress.
Sleeping for eight hours is recommended to avoid physical and mental exhaustion.
No, not the Sunday church confession! Confessing to someone means maintaining a healthy support system. A burden shared is a burden lessened. Talk to someone about your problems. Exchange a greeting with your neighbour, call up an old friend or have a hearty chat with an acquaintance.
If you want to avoid human interaction, maintain a diary. Treat dear diary as a dumping ground for your problems and write whatever bothered you that day. It can be an angry boss or a troublesome friend; no matter how big or small the event, keep the outlet for expression open instead of bottling it up.
Seek refuge in art
You may fail art but art never fails you! Art with its various faces always has something for everyone- whether it is a painting that appeals to you or music that talks to your soul. Research has shown that music stimulates the brain which gives it a mental workout. ENT specialists from Johns Hopkins have found that there are fewer things stimulating the brain the way music does. “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.” Research has also shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
Watch a movie! The aim is to help and relax the brain. Watching a movie can be an interesting way to help calm the brain that is tightened due to stress. Movies transport you to another world which helps you to forget about your problems and be in an imaginative space.
We often do not allow ourselves the break we deserve. There is always the extra work, assignment or party that we just cannot miss. As such, our body and mind often miss out on the chance to just relax and unwind.
It is therefore important to allow ourselves to take a break and not just the KitKat one. Go out for a vacation in the misty hills or exotic beachside or simply walk out of college/office and go for a long walk.
If the weekdays are engaged, allow yourself a break in the weekends; it can be a day out with friends, a dinner date with the self or Netflix and chill in pajamas with your best friends.