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Why Are Millennials So Unhappy?

Why Are Millennials So Unhappy?



illennials, also known as Generation Y, are a generation of people born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s — give or take a few years depending on who you ask. This means they are currently in their late 20s to early 40s. Millennials grew up during rapid technological advancement and social change. They are characterized as tech-savvy, open-minded, and socially conscious, and often prioritize work-life balance and flexibility in their careers. However, they also face unique challenges, such as economic instability, student debt, and increased pressure to succeed in a highly competitive job market, thereby causing them to be an unhappy generation. But, is that all there is to it?

There are no specific statistics to show that millennials are the most unhappy generation, but there are surveys that suggest it. For instance, this generation has a higher level of stress and anxiety compared to others, and they are less healthy and also have higher rates of developing certain health conditions.

Check out probable reasons why millennials are so unhappy…

#1. Economic factors

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  • Student loan debt: One of the biggest economic challenges facing millennials is the high level of student loan debt. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, the total student loan debt in the United States is over $1.7 trillion, with millennials holding the largest share of it. The average student loan debt for a millennial with a bachelor’s degree is around $28,000. This level of debt can be a significant burden, making it difficult for millennials to save for the future or invest in other areas, such as buying a home or starting a business.
  • Competitive job market: Millennials are entering the workforce at a time when the job market is more competitive than ever. Many industries are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of technological changes, which has led to significant job displacement and uncertainty. Plus, the rise of the gig economy and contract work has also made it more difficult for millennials to secure full-time employment with benefits and job security.
  • High cost of living: It’s easy to see why millennials are so unhappy, in this case. At this age, Gen X were already homeowners or gearing toward being one, but millennials are steadily faced with a high cost of living, particularly in urban areas. Housing, transportation, and healthcare have increased significantly in recent years, making it more difficult for them to save money and build wealth. In some cases, millennials may be forced to live with roommates or rely on their parents for financial support.
  • Income inequality: This generation is in the workforce at a time when income inequality is at an all-time high. The top 1% of earners now control more wealth than the bottom 50% of earners. This can make it difficult for millennials to access the same opportunities and resources as previous generations, such as home ownership and financial stability.
  • Economic recession: Millennials came of age during the Great Recession of 2008, which had a significant impact on the economy and job market. Many millennials were just starting their careers at the time, and the recession made it difficult for them to find stable employment and build their financial security.

#2. Social media use

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While social media can be a useful tool for connecting with others and sharing experiences, excessive use of social media has been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety, particularly when users constantly compare themselves to others. Studies have shown that millennials are more likely to experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and feel pressure to present a perfect image on social media, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

#3. Politics

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Politics has had a significant impact on the well-being and happiness of millennials, in part because of several issues that have emerged in recent years.

  • Polarization: One of the biggest political challenges facing millennials is the increasing difference in opinion in politics. In some parts of the world, especially the United States, extreme political differences have reached historic levels, with Democrats and Republicans becoming more ideologically divided than ever before. This has led to a toxic political environment in which compromise and cooperation are increasingly difficult, and political stalemate has become the norm. This polarization can leave millennials feeling disillusioned and disconnected from the political process.
  • Social justice issues: Millennials have been at the forefront of many social justice movements, including Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. These movements have drawn attention to issues such as police brutality, racial inequality, and sexual harassment, and have sparked important conversations about these issues. However, the backlash to these movements can leave millennials frustrated and angry, particularly when they see their political leaders ignore or dismiss these concerns.
  • Lack of representation: At this point, it’s obvious why millennials are so unhappy. All these issues, and there’s still a strong wave of feeling left out. This generation may feel they are not represented in the political process. Many politicians are older and come from a different generation, which can make it difficult for them to relate to millennials’ concerns and priorities. This leaves most millennials feeling disconnected from the political process and disillusioned with their ability to effect change.

Impacts of millennials’ unhappiness

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The impacts of this unhappiness can be far-reaching and affect different areas of their lives. Some of these impacts are:

  • Mental health problems: Unhappiness can lead to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which can affect the ability to function in daily life.
  • Decreased productivity: Unhappiness can also lead to decreased productivity, which can affect millennials’ ability to succeed in their careers and achieve their goals.
  • Increased risk-taking behavior: Some millennials may turn to risk-taking behavior, such as drinking, substance abuse, or reckless driving, to cope with their unhappiness, which can have serious consequences.
  • Social isolation: Unhappiness can also lead to social isolation and lack of social support, which can further aggravate mental health problems.

Possible solutions to address the reasons why millennials are so unhappy

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  • Providing access to mental health resources: Employers, universities, and other organizations can provide access to mental health resources, such as counseling and therapy, to help millennials manage their mental health.
  • Addressing economic challenges: Policies that address economic challenges, such as student loan debt and income inequality, can help to alleviate financial stress among millennials.
  • Promoting work-life balance: Employers can promote work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, to help reduce stress and increase happiness.
  • Encouraging civic engagement: Encouraging millennials to engage in civic activities, such as volunteering or political activism, can help them feel more connected to their communities and empowered to effect changes.

Addressing unhappiness among millennials requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on the various factors that contribute to the issue. By taking steps to promote mental health, address economic challenges, and promote work-life balance and civic engagement, we can help millennials lead happier lives.

Featured image: Viorel Kurnosov/iStock

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