Millennials are the first generation of digital natives with their access to information and global reach being unprecedented. From a human perspective, this means they’re the first generation that allows us to gauge the impact constant exposure to tech combined with the modern lifestyle can have on us, and the results are in. When looking at the mental health of the millennial generation, there is a sharp rise in anxiety and depression. It would be unfair to blame all of this on being digital natives. Many social and cultural factors contribute:
- A crippling abundance of choice
- Less stable family units
- The high instance of geographical relocation
Regardless of the reasons, it’s clear the problem is very real. So, what can millennials do to help them survive in the real world?
Ways Millennials can relax
Music has long been considered a staple food of the soul. New research suggests it may be even more fundamental than we realised. The average person will spend 13 years of their life listening to music. It has been proven to improve sleep, reduce blood pressure, and can even help to prevent back pain. When it comes to mental health, music is equally important. It can reduce feelings of depression by as much as 25%, while ICU units have started to use music to reduce anxiety amongst patients.
As well as this long list of benefits, incorporating more music into your daily routine is also enjoyable. We all have our favourite songs, artists, or genres but variety appears to be the key to maximising the effect. Mozart might be your ideal companion as bedtime approaches but even aggressive heavy metal has been proven to elevate your mood by helping you to process anger.
The physical benefits of exercise are well documented but it’s also an amazing tool to help fight depression and anxiety. If you spend a lot of time at a desk or in front of a gaming console, then the benefits are even greater. Increasing your blood flow and getting your heart pumping will elevate your mood. When you combine this effect with the increase in feel-good endorphins in your brain, it’s not hard to see why sitting less and moving more is so beneficial. Even small changes can have an impact. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk or cycle instead of catching the bus, or park your car a bit further from your destination. There are many ways we can incorporate exercise into our daily routine without an expensive gym membership or the need to become fitness obsessed.
Our senses are permanently bombarded with stimuli, whether from our smartphones, computers, or just the noise and stress associated with living in a city. Creating some quiet time to let your senses and brain have a rest is crucial.
Many people are put off meditating because they think it’s too difficult or they won’t be able to stop their mind from whirring. The best way to get started is not to stop thinking but to focus so intensely on a single thing (this could be your breath, a flame, or even a mantra) until all the other thoughts fall away. Intently focusing on a single thing provides a rest to a brain usually trying to process 360 degrees of stimuli.
Whether you use rock music, meditation, or exercise, incorporating things you love into your daily routine is an important way to be kind to yourself and your brain.