Three Golden Rules To Help Millennials Overcome Their Hopelessness
It’s common knowledge that stress manifests itself in the form of unhealthy habits, such as excessive drinking, drug use, and gambling. So the fact that a quarter of men between ages 18 and 24 have gambling problems is cause for concern. Millennials are a group lacking hope — and gambling is just one symptom.
Anxiety is another prominent symptom among Millennials, with BDA Morneau Shepell reporting that 30 percent of working Millennials have general anxiety.
It’s no surprise, then, that Millennials also have the highest stress levels of any generation, according to the American Psychological Association. And Millennials often feel trapped amid an ever-growing list of economic and psychological pressures.
The Pressure Is On
Millennials face pressure in many areas of their lives as they struggle to keep up with society’s expectations. Social media, for example, often puts pressure on young adults to be financially successful because it makes everyone else’s life look filled with new cars, relaxing beach vacations, and elegantly plated meals at Michelin-starred restaurants.
On top of this, they’re also faced with the real estate dilemma. Many of them watched their parents struggle to make ballooning mortgage payments when the market crashed, and now they’re questioning whether they should rent or buy. Does it make sense to take a second job to pay off that mortgage, or should they use that money to travel or invest in themselves?
The decision is even tougher when you consider that many Millennials are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt. It’s not enough these days to take up a part-time job to cover tuition costs. About 40 percent of undergraduates have to take out student loans and work 30 hours a week, and sometimes, that’s not nearly enough to cover all the bills.
Overcoming The Slumps
With pressures mounting, anxiety and depression are becoming more common among Millennials, and many are turning to prescription medication to ease their worries. Sometimes it helps, though, to remember that there are other people out there who understand.
My generation, for example, faced off against credit card companies. These companies would literally put marketing inserts for credit cards in our programs during high school graduations! This led many young people (who were desperate to move out of their parents’ homes and gain financial independence) into lives filled with credit card debt. After seeing some of these disasters within my own family, I avoided credit cards like the plague and managed to also avoid some of the problems they caused for others.
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Because I remember what it feels like to be young and facing serious pressures from society, I always try to offer a listening ear to my Millennial staff members when they need someone to talk to. I’ve also learned a thing or two by living through my own generational challenges. When things look bleak, there are a few things you can do to ease the pressure:
1. Grow Accustomed To Things Not Going Your Way
In his song “Beautiful Boy,” John Lennon famously included the line, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” With that in mind, you’ll benefit from learning to go with the flow and focus on the positives that surround you. Doing so will enhance the quality of your life and help you find peace amid chaos.
When I was younger, everyone wanted a custom car. Cars were a status symbol, and if you didn’t have a lowrider with a bass audio system, you weren’t one of the “cool kids.” Meanwhile, I was driving a pieced-together car that basically came straight from the junkyard. It wasn’t ideal, but I went with it and looked for the silver lining. While I may not have been one of the cool kids, I did save a lot of money that I could put toward my future.
2. Stop Making Excuses, And Make Things Happen
Many outside influences will affect your life in different ways, but it’s ultimately up to you to be responsible for your actions and their outcomes. So instead of finding excuses, look at yourself and your attitude and start problem-solving.
If you need inspiration, look to J.K. Rowling’s story. Despite having no money to her name (she was on welfare when she started writing “Harry Potter”), she made no excuses. Instead, Rowling used the fear and despair to fuel her determination and is now the U.K.’s most successful living author.
3. Great Things Take Time And Patience
Leo Tolstoy, widely regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time, once wrote, “The two most powerful warriors are time and patience.” He makes a good point. However, it is far too easy to mistake complacency for patience. There will never be a perfect time or set of circumstances. You don’t have to waste time to exercise restraint and achieve your goals.
Ultimately, overcoming hopelessness means looking at things differently. It’s easy for Millennials to feel overwhelmed by economic and psychological obstacles. It’s far more difficult and rewarding, though, to view those circumstances in a new, more positive light and work upward.
Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur with a degree in nuclear medicine. His work has been featured in Forbes, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Fox Small Business, Entrepreneur and TIME Magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at Quote.com, inspiring his team one word at a time. You can find him on LinkedIn.