A Millennial is everyone who is born after 1980, including me, most of my readers and to be exact we outnumber every other generation living on Earth. But according to multiple studies, we are the most depressed generation ever. Psychology reports that the suicide rate among young adults has tripled since the 1950 and terrifyingly suicide has now become the second most common death among college students. Every year more and more Millennials are taking time off work and seeking help for mental health issues. They point out how they experience extremely shallow job satisfaction and difficulty maintaining relationships.
On the one hand, we want to make an impact. Our work should be meaningful. We like to work in collaborations, eat free food and have fun. We also for no reason like to believe that we earned something, yet we didn’t do much to deserve any consideration at all. The narcissism stereotype among young people has exploded. We are made to believe that we can become whoever we want just by keeping an image. A big economy switch experienced by our previous generation is why. It created fame-obsessed people thriving for their uniqueness. Four times as many teenagers would choose to be the assistant of a famous person rather than the CEO of a major cooperation and 54% of 16 years old nowadays wanna become a celebrity. Shouldn’t fame come according to success?
We created a technology that can think for us and therein lies the biggest problem which ruins the lives of young people. Mobile phones. You probably heard it a billion times before but do you know how damaging they are to our mental health? My research is terrifying. Here are some facts. The average Millennial checks their phone 100 times per day and touches, taps or swipes 3.000 times. Taking pictures, playing games, reading the news or writing a status releases dopamine. We feel instant gratification when we receive online feedback such as likes, wins or shares. We have built major platforms which provide an everlasting continuum of reward for our deeply connected self-fulfilment. But what happens when we don’t get the expected amount of appreciation? What if the picture we just uploaded didn’t get enough likes? Studies have shown that the answer is feelings of rejection, lost and finally depression. Whether we like it or not, we have become a generation of addicts. It starts by leaving your phone next to your food during dinner and putting the people we should spend quality time with face to face as a second priority. On the other hand our parents had to make an effort to get their appreciation. They had to have meaningful conversations which formed deep and long relationships, to get their dopamine fix. We, on the other hand, are so used to get the instant gratification that we quickly get bored and therefore we are impatient and lazy. Well, success definitely cannot be handed on a plate.
I want to make a point here. What if depression is just a symptom of our generation dealing with the adoption of media. Imagine we would put our minds into something that actually matters. We could make a huge impact! Do I believe that we are lazy, depressed Narcissus? Yes. We definitely have to adapt our education due to the psychological fact of technological approvement. But the fact is we are less racist, homophobic and sexist as our parents. Also, our inability to settle into a 9 to 5 job may not be so entirely wrong. We are the most entrepreneurial generation ever! Our hunger to achieve something big and to make an impact could be dangerous for large heartless cooperations but our mentality could change the world as our parents could never imagine. There is no doubt we should spend more time with each other, interacting in groups, evolving meaningful relationships but we also have to accept the fact that the world is changing and put our focus on the good during this transition. The cure is interest and we can start by putting in some effort in change.
Love, Aya ©