Generation Z may be known as the kids who love to do TikTok dances, but they are more than that. This generation doesn’t remember a time before technology. They grew up only knowing life the way it is now, which has impacted them in ways other generations don’t quite understand. Unfortunately, everything that makes Gen Z what they are has turned them into a stressed and lonely generation. They may seem carefree on the surface but have more worries than previous generations.
Because Gen Z grew up with an average of five screens around them daily, they spend more time online than anyone else. That means they have direct access to news and social media. With the rise in U.S. gun violence, sexual harassment reports, and the intensely rigid political outlooks altering their lives and futures, they have plenty to worry about.
However, these are just things that are affecting the generation as a whole. Many Gen Z individuals still have worries in their personal lives. With so much going on around them, right as they are approaching adulthood, it becomes a lot to wrap their heads around.
Those circumstances and the pressures from social media in terms of body image, finances, and experiences cause anxiety and depression. The independence that technology has given this generation is also a cause of their loneliness. They may be connected nonstop, but that connection isn’t the same as the bonds grown outside of the internet.
The effects of the pandemic also hit Gen Z harder than most. As their education was held back via virtual learning, they are more concerned about their education. Remote learning seems to have halted brain development that requires the everyday interaction a student receives in a traditional classroom.
The lack of social interaction with peers, isolation, and worrying about the health and wellness of loved ones means this generation is not just struggling to keep up in terms of schooling but also with social skills and development. Having to handle their everyday worries and the stress added from the pandemic, Gen Z is faced with numerous struggles no one of their age should have to navigate.
Thankfully, according to a Western Governors University article from 2019 titled “Stress, Mental Health, and Generation Z,” Gen Z is also the generation most likely to seek help for mental health struggles. Although the stigma surrounding mental health still exists, this generation seems more willing to talk about their pressures. Seeking out resources to help them cope pushes them ahead and helps ease their stress. However, therapists and mental health professionals need to work with the circumstances surrounding the Gen Z lifestyle to make the most significant impact.
Gen Z is in a mental health crisis due to immense worry and stress. As a mental health professional, the tools you might offer to an older client will not be as beneficial to someone of this generation. For instance, establishing a set amount of time away from technology or the internet was solid advice for millennials or older generations, but Gen Z grew up with this technology. They wouldn’t feel the same peace or nostalgia from stepping away as others would.
Instead, offering Gen Z clients online resources for safe places to find help and support online gives them a better chance of reaching out. Instead of unplugging or taking a technology detox, seeking out relaxation apps or positive spaces online like groups or chats tend to be more helpful.
Another strategy to help Gen Z reduce stress is encouraging communication and bonding with peers. Rather than liking or commenting on someone’s post, reaching out and talking, even via text or direct message, offers a better sense of connection.
Group coaching or support groups are highly recommended for a generation that feels isolated and lonely. Understanding that they are not alone in their feelings offers some much-needed clarity. Working with peers who understand them to their core provides positive friendships and connections. Encouraging social outings in nature that include physical activities like sports or just walking can boost energy levels and mood, leading to a more positive outlook overall.
Taking time to focus on creating genuine connections using technology as a tool to do so helps to improve excessive worry. Having people to vent to and safe and creative outlets where they can release their worries offers an unbeatable release.
Gen Z isn’t as fearless as TikTok makes them seem. They have more pressure on them than most generations. Much of this generation has no memory of life before the internet. This ever-present part of their lives offers limits for their social development and futures. Constant news cycles, social media pressure, education worries, and the pandemic have impacted their young lives in ways most people can’t begin to process. As a mental health professional, finding curated methods of wellness training for Gen Z will provide them with the guidance they need to make changes and reduce their struggles. They need to learn coping skills for this unique brand of stress they are experiencing. Here, at SokyaHealth, we offer client-based therapies curated for their needs and goals. Our self-care lessons, group therapies, and coaching programs help guide this generation where they need to be to live happy, well-rounded lives. Call us at (877) 840-6956 to find out more.