From the Editor: Being aware of ‘Generation Anxiety’

Three papers are due this week, two exams the following week and six hours of rehearsals, on top of eating, sleeping and breathing? Stress is definitely no stranger to millennials, as we are known as the “most anxious generation.”

Since we were young, we have always been pressured to reach for the top and live to our greatest potential, whether it was making honor roll, varsity teams or getting scholarships to the most prestigious universities. Our minds are trained to accent certain areas of our lives and strive to No. 1.

A 2013 survey from the American Psychological Association found that anxiety is the top concern among college students, surpassing depression.

As college students, we put mass amounts of pressure on ourselves for a variety of reasons, which ends up affecting academic performance. We may get lower grades, drop classes or not act like ourselves in general. The effects anxiety has on our academics is not always apparent until it’s too late to change anything.

Through research from the Economic and Social Research Council, it was found that those who are anxious find it harder to avoid distractions and take more time to switch one focus to another when completing different tasks.

The American College Health Association found that over a 12-month period, 85.6 percent of college students nationally felt overwhelmed with everything they had to get done, and 56.9 percent of college students felt a more severe overwhelming anxiety.

Being so technologically involved, we like having everything accessible to us 24/7. If our Wi-Fi stops working in the middle of a research project, or even while scrolling through our social media, our stress and anxiety levels increase because we are not able to continue right away. We have grown to have a lack of patience with our smartphones and laptops, which is causing more distress on our minds.

A study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, connecting our cellphone addictions to mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. With mobile technology rapidly expanding, there is no question as to why researchers would want to explore how this links to our psychological well-being.

Three hundred college students were asked to partake in a survey addressing their mental health levels and amount of cellphone and internet use. It was found that the students who said they have an addictive behavior toward their mobile devices scored much higher on the anxiety and depression scales.

In a follow-up study, these students were put in a stressful situation, and researchers recorded how they reacted. Those without their phones were impacted more negatively in the stressful situation than those who were able to have their phones with them.

It was found that breaking such intimacy with our mobile devices might be a viable solution in addressing mental health issues, such as general anxiety disorder.

We have all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives, as it is completely normal. Small amounts of anxiety are the butterflies in our stomachs before an important presentation or a special date.

However, anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness, which few people completely understand. Someone who experiences such chronic anxiety is living with mental illness that affects daily life. There are multiple types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder and general anxiety disorder. Common symptoms of any of these anxiety disorders can include a feeling of uneasiness or fear, problems sleeping and nausea.

An example of an everyday situation that may make a person with an anxiety disorder uneasy can be as simple as grocery shopping. The process of figuring out what to eat, making a list and sorting through the dozens of aisles can be overwhelming and cause copious amounts of stress.

No, this is not comparable to stressing out about our exam schedules, but it shows how wide the range of anxiety is. There is a huge spectrum of anxiety that any college student xcould be resting on.

It is important to be aware of when we are feeling anxious and to not overwhelm ourselves too much when thinking about all there is to get done. Remember to get plenty of sleep, think positively and recognize that the piles of work that need to get finished will be completed in time.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Printed in the 11/01/17 issue. 

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