Stressed Out

Millennial are an anxious lot. Here’s how to chill.

A recent survey published in Stress in America has found that Millennials (people age 18 to 33) are tied with Gen-Xers as the most stressed-out generation. In fact, according to the report, 52 percent of Millennials have been kept awake at night because of stress within a one-month period. We asked Phelps Hospital Director of Psychiatry L. Mark Russakoff, MD, and Adam Raff, MD, of Psychiatric Solutions of Westchester to tell us what factors lead to stress in young people—and what they can do about it. 

Recognize the Causes
“The primary categories of the sources of stress are: personal, economic, social, academic, and safety,” says Russakoff. “Millennials are at an age at which they are attempting to establish or consolidate an identity and enter the marketplaces for work and their personal lives. With all the other stressors in their lives, this challenge is even more complicated than in previous generations.” 

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol 
“Having realistic expectations about oneself and the world are crucial to managing stress effectively,” says Russakoff. “There are also pressures on some to use substances, including excessive alcohol and abuse of drugs, prescription or otherwise, to escape from the stressors of life.”

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“Tune out the technology regularly,” says Raff. “Technology is important and fun, but too much of it can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.”

Quiet Your Mind
“There is an abundance of activities and lifestyles that can potentially reduce everyday stress,” says Raff. “Some examples are yoga, therapeutic massage, and transcendental meditation, all which have been discovered to be useful in coping with mild-to-moderate levels of stress.”

Change Your Thinking
“Managing one’s expectations is crucial to managing stress,” advises Russakoff.  “Monitoring how one is thinking about stressors, and not letting one’s thinking get out of hand regarding the stress, may help reduce the stress response. Anticipating catastrophe is not helpful.  Planning for potential future troubles is helpful.”

Know When to Seek Professional Help
“Regular abuse of substances is a red flag,” says Russakoff. “Distinct changes in mood associated with other behavioral changes, such as activity level, sleep, eating habits, impulsivity, thinking disturbances, and feelings of hopelessness or helplessness may signal a significant mood disorder. Unusual symptoms, such as hearing voices, may also signal a serious problem.”

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