Gen Z Looks Young But Feels Old Due to Stress

Gen Z has experienced world- and life-altering changes in the past half-decade. These changes have disrupted the accustomed routine of life; days fly by in an instant, and it is difficult to understand and follow all the urgent news around the world. Climate change, the distressing economy, the crisis in mental health, rumors and actual wars, and life after the pandemic have all created a worrying environment for Gen Z. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that 68% of Gen Z adults feel stressed about our nation’s future.

Information Overload

Gen Z was born into the rise of the internet and online activity, where information was freely available. Before this era, information was a lot slower, and visiting a library or going to college was the best way to gain more knowledge. However, Gen Z, at the touch of their fingers, can find information anywhere on social media or other online-related activities. Having so much knowledge at your fingertips can be overwhelming, especially if you see distressing information about the economy, relationships, and world affairs around you. Due to so much information, Gen Z has turned into a generation that is young but has an aged-like mindset that is struck with constant fear and is critical of making mistakes. Failure to succeed in life socially, economically, family-wise, and career-wise has caused Gen Z to live in despair. To make matters worse, social media has a tendency and an algorithm that has more negative perceptions than positive ones. This can eventually be detrimental to a person, and if you spend too much time on social media, it may become harmful.

Hopelessness in Gen Z

With world and national affairs, including social media, a Gen Zer may feel despair and hopelessness in today’s world, which can lead to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health-related issues. The weight of the world is on this generation due to the rise of instability and no immediate changes happening. The weight feels even harder due to the ongoing pressure to see changes happen sooner rather than later, before it is too late. As a Gen Zer, I can relate to many of these issues and the growing concern for the world around me. Not only is the world around us escalating in crisis, but many Gen Zers are experiencing crisis in their lives. Family, intimate relationships, performance, and social life are areas that Gen Z individuals are dealing with and finding it weary to cope with related problems.

Finding Peace in the Storm

  1. Focus on What You Can Control. Easier said than done! However, once you learn this fundamental mindset, you focus on what you can change in your life. Even though external circumstances are distressing, you place those worries in a box outside of worries in your control. 
  2. Build Internal Strength. Find your place of peace, have grace for yourself, find your life’s dream and vision, learn and know more about yourself, be mindful and develop healthy mental and physical habits!
  3. Find Your Community. Internal strength is important, but having a social community of family, friends, and mentors are essential to managing stress. Don’t have a community yet? It is never too late to make a friend, or mentor in your life through hobbies and potential skills you want to develop. 
  4. Find Your Happy Place. Find your oasis! Fishing, sports, working out, hiking, swimming, reading, mediation? Why not! Anything that can be a place where you can find rest and silence from the problems of the world, go for it!
  5. Monitor Your Time on Social Media. Like number 1, easier said than done! Find ways to reduce your social media time and replace it with another activity that is fulfilling and enjoyable. Leisure time can be anything!
  6. Have Grace and Be Nice to Yourself. Do not compare yourself to others, we have our own race to run and our only competition is ourselves. You can do so many great things in this life, but life is a process. Nothing happens overnight, so have grace for yourself through your journey! You’re on your way!

Build Resilience

The unfortunate reality is that we, as people, cannot control external circumstances. These circumstances are out of our control, and most of the time, there is little that we can do to change these issues. However, if Gen Z learns and develops resilience, Gen Z will have peace within the storm to push through the stress of the world. Life is guaranteed to be a rollercoaster crowded with highs and lows from personal and world affairs. Life will take us on a journey and place us on roads that were never our wanted or predicted outcome. These realities are true, but you, as a person, can learn how to build internal strength to overcome storms and find rest in times of distress that will allow you to endure. 

Empathetic Journey

It took me some time as an older Gen Zer to walk into this mindset, but the improvement in my well-being has been a game changer. Are you interested in working on building resilience, improving your mental health, and learning tools to alleviate anxiety? Working with a counselor who understands you and where you’re coming from is a great first step. Book an appointment with me at Lifeologie Counseling Dallas (214) 357-4001, or find a therapist near you who specializes in working with young adults and professionals experiencing life transitions. I hope that you, as a Gen Zer, develop your internal strength to run your race in this game called life.

About Micah Gultery

Micah earned his BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington and his Master’s in Clinical Counseling from the University of North Texas at Dallas. Micah Gultery specializes in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, mental health issues, self-harming, anger management, self-esteem, stress, and time management issues through individual, family, or group counseling. As a part of the Gen Z population, Micah has found his passion and purpose in working with adolescents, young adults, and adults looking for solutions for their well-being. Micah utilizes the approaches of person-centered, solution-focused and CBT to assist clients through their adversities.

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