From our entitlement to our enthusiasm, the world has many things to say about millennials. We often hear that millennials were raised by parents who told them they could do or be anything, but regardless of our parents’ best intentions, many of us are struggling to stay afloat in a society that thrives on staying busy.
The enthusiasm this generation is prized for quickly fades in a work environment that does not encourage individual growth. In this nine-to-five setting, many people, millennials included, are stressed out and do not feel awake in their everyday life.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case–even if you’re stuck in a mind-numbing nine-to-five. Mindfulness is a direct route to transforming your life by becoming aware of the moment you’re living in. By practicing mindfulness, millennials can lower their stress levels, improve their mental clarity, and more deeply connect with others.
P.S. This advice is coming from a millennial who can personally attest to the joy and relief that mindfulness can bring. So what, exactly, is the problem? And how can we fix it with mindfulness?
We Are Really Stressed Out
Millennials are the most stressed-out generation in America. The Stress in America survey in 2015 revealed that no one feels more effects of stress than millennials (ages 18-35), though Generation X (ages 36-49) comes close.
Finances have remained the biggest concern for all generations since 2007. Money concerns have been linked to higher blood pressure levels. Parents, women, and those with lower incomes report issues with insomnia and unhealthy behaviors that prevent them from coping with stress. Women are more likely to lie awake in bed all night than men: 51% to 32%.
Coping mechanisms for stress are typically watching two hours of TV and surfing the web, but drinking and smoking follow closely behind. Regardless, millennials report issues with irritability, anxiety, and lack of motivation.
Alleviating this anxiety and stress, however, can do more than just make you feel better; a mindful life is a fuller life.
One tip to help reduce stress and become more mindful is to start making social media fasts a regular practice and replace excess screen time with mindfulness. Simply sitting with a cup of tea and enjoying the warmth of the cup in your hands is a mindful practice. Observe and acknowledge your thoughts, and notice how the simple tea ritual does evoke stress. If you’re not into tea, try taking some time to meditate or journal.
You’ll be surprised how replacing those five minutes of scrolling with silence will help reduce your stress levels greatly. Just sitting for a little in silence and thinking about what you are grateful for can make all of the difference. All humans (not just millennials!) need to make more time to be thankful. By choosing to do this, you can set yourself up for many more positive moments throughout the day.
We Have Too Much Brain Fog and Brain Chatter
Ever drift through your day without much thought? Forgetfulness plaguing you? Insomnia, unhealthy diet, stress, medication side effects, and other issues often lead to periods of mental cloudiness.
Forgetfulness sneaks into daily life. Brain fog takes days, and sometimes even weeks, to clear up. Then, cue the brain chatter as your inner dialogue takes over and you try to remember what you forgot. Instead, a long to-do list of items fill your mind, and you’re back to worrying. Sound familiar?
If so, don’t fret–a mindfulness practice can help you think more efficiently. Mindfulness improves mental clarity by bringing you to the present moment, which allows you to focus on one thing at a time. You’ll soon notice how being present reduces the effects of brain fog and brain chatter.
We Need to Interconnect (With Ourselves & Each Other)
When stress and brain fog affect everyday life, it’s natural to retreat. Instead of being with others, you may prefer to eat, nap, or binge-watch TV. Mindfulness encourages you to be open to experiences, yourself, and others from a nonjudgmental place, leading to greater interconnectivity.
Mindfulness enhances your interconnectivity with the world. Those who practice mindfulness report greater empathy and improvement in relationship satisfaction. Moreover, through mindfulness, we’re better able to recognize our own emotions, allowing us more control over the way we respond to others. Mindful interactions can bring us closer, reduce conflict, and make life a little less stressful.
Your mind and body filter many sensory experiences daily, which can become overwhelming. Fortunately, there are easy ways to integrate the practice of mindfulness into daily life. Simply focus on the little things as you’re doing them–from chores to eating. A little mindfulness goes a long way! Whether you work meditation into your daily routine, or just carve out some time for calm when you can, you will notice a difference when you take the time to sit back and take some time out for yourself.
Do you practice mindfulness?
Also by Cori: How to Sign Off and Enjoy Your Weekend
More mindfulness resources: 5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness for Happiness and Calm
How to Find Time for Meditation in Your Busy Life
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Photo: Arkady Lifshits via Unsplash