Idaho, Iowa, Des Moines
July 2, 2022

The Top 3 Reasons For Anxiety in Millennials

Millennials are some of the most anxious people on the planet. There are so many things that cause millennial anxiety. The pressures of dating, family life, work-life, home life, and social life. Not to mention social media and financial debt. It’s a juggling act, only instead of with balls, you’re juggling pieces of your life.

Anxiety in millennials is quite common. With therapy tailored specifically toward millennials with anxiety, such as the work I do, you can learn coping skills to balance all aspects of your life so they don’t seem overwhelming and provoke anxiety.

You know how people say you shouldn’t keep too many tabs open on your computer for fear of overwhelm and clutter? The same goes for your life. Too many “tabs” open in your brain causes overload and anxiety. You go back and forth between the screens in your brain, multitask, check social media compulsively, and then wonder why you feel so exhausted that you cancel commitments.

I get it, being a millennial is hard. But it doesn’t have to be so hard that you’re curled up in a ball in bed with anxiety. Yes, you have responsibilities. And yes, you have to be able to get through the day. But there are definite reasons why you feel so anxious, and we’re going to talk about three of them today.

anxiety in millennials

The Prevalence of Millennial Anxiety

Millennials are considered the most anxious generation we’ve seen thus far. Women, in particular, tend to be more anxious than men, but that’s more of a generalization than a fact. The thing about anxiety is that in small doses it can actually be helpful because it can motivate you to get things done. But when it becomes debilitating, that’s when we have a problem.

Millennials seem to be the outlier of generations when it comes to anxiety. Anxiety disorders are very common amongst millennials. According to the American Psychological Association, 12% of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. This is double the percentage of boomers diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

So why are millennials so anxious? Here are 3 reasons for anxiety in millennials:

1. Perfectionism

Some of the most anxious millennials I know are perfectionists. Being a perfectionist can serve you at work, for example, because it ensures that your work is done well and that you have great attention to detail. But being overly perfectionistic is detrimental to your mental health. And your physical health.

Perfectionists beat themselves up when they don’t “get it right.” If something isn’t perfect, they’ll obsess about it. If this is you, you might stay up all night worrying about all the things that didn’t go perfectly that day and all the things you need to do perfectly tomorrow.

The anxiety associated with being a perfectionistic millennial has become an epidemic. Your generation grew up with the need to be perfect. You had to go to get good grades, be good at sports or the arts, go to a good college, find the “right” person to date, etc. All of that pressure is enough to make anyone anxious! But you’ve got it coming at you from all sides.

The perfectionistic idea that we have in our heads is rarely connected to reality. Yet millennials sit with the anxiety of trying to be perfect every day. That anxiety builds up until there’s nowhere to go and you hit your breaking point. Perfectionism can turn into a mental health crisis.

2. Financial Debt

Millennials were expected to go to college for at least a Bachelor’s degree, if not a Master’s or even a Ph.D. Most millennials can’t afford higher education, so they take out loans. Then they get out of school and maybe they buy a car. Some millennials are also buying houses. So now you’ve got student loans, car payments, and potentially a mortgage to pay. That’s enough to make anyone anxious!

Stressing about money is a surefire way to cause anxiety in millennials. No matter how much money you make, you still have that debt hanging over your head. The day you pay off a car payment is definite cause of celebration.

But most student loans take a lot longer to pay off. You could be in debt for decades. The knowledge that you owe that much money for that long is a big cause of millennial anxiety. The weight of financial debt is detrimental to your mental health. It can lead to depression, increased anxiety, and even suicide. Anxiety about financial debt is a health crisis for millennials.

3. Social Media

Social media is, in my opinion, ruining millennials’ mental health. A report found that 77% of millennials are on social media at least once a day. That number blows my mind! (cue mind-blown emoji, speaking of social media). 

One of the biggest problems with social media is that it creates an unfair comparison game. People only post the best versions of themselves. Filters, cropping, photoshopping – it all makes you feel bad about yourself because your life doesn’t look like that. But neither does theirs.

Millennials feel pressure to post reels and TikTok videos because everyone else seems to be doing it. There’s pressure to be cute, funny, witty, sexy, fun, and make your life look better than it is.

Social media can also make you feel excluded from things. It looks like everyone’s out having a good time without you. Maybe you see posts of your friends doing things that you couldn’t make or weren’t invited to. Or perhaps you follow friends of friends and want to be included in their lives.

It’s also a popularity contest. Millennials need validation from everyone with likes, comments, views, and shares when it comes to their content. Nothing feels good enough.

Therapy and Coaching Can Help You If You Have Millennial Anxiety

Don’t let this post give you more anxiety. I wanted to show you a few reasons why you might have millennial anxiety. I can help you work through your challenges and come up with goal-setting strategies to help you find ways to manage your anxiety.

You’ll learn how to set realistic goals and see them through during our work together. We’ll develop coping skills to deal with anxiety in millennials and help you step confidently into the world knowing what you’re dealing with and how you can manage it.

I also offer a coaching program for perfectionists that is designed to give you support and guidance around feeling good enough in your professional and personal life – no matter where you live. If you want help overcoming the belief that you have to constantly achieve in order to be worthwhile – and this belief is making you suffer – coaching is for you.

I’m ready if you are. Reach out today to get started with therapy or coaching.

Meet the author

Danielle Wayne

Danielle is an anxiety therapist and perfectionism coach. She specializes in helping busy millennials dial down their anxiety and ADHD, so they can perform at their best. Danielle has been featured on Apartment Therapy, SparkPeople, Lifewire, and Now Art World. When Danielle isn't helping her clients, she's playing video games or spending time with her partner and step children.

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