I recently presented on the topic of generational differences at a conference and was asked - "What you are telling us is simply broad generalisations. "My reply - "Yes, they are?" And after all isn't that what a lot of research is, the majority? So here I go with some broad generalisations about Gen-Y and Gen Zs.
I assert that the most stressed (dis-stressed as I once heard it termed) generation are the millennials, those who are currently aged 26 to 35. Closely following them are the Gen-Zs, those aged under 21.
I am no expert in this field of what is making them the most pressured group, the millennials, however after talking with literally hundreds of them through my work, I suggest two main causes;
A Fast Brain
Millenials have great difficulty in slowing their brains down, particularly at night. This is a direct result of technology providing instant access to as much information as they would ever want, leading to a hunger for more information, leading to bouncing across numerous websites, and so the cycle continues. Add to this their high use of social media, in its many forms, you can see why their brains remain active for long periods of time.
The way millennials learn has changed from the more traditional way of learning, books. They prefer, and actually do learn more, through the use of technology. This feeds into the way that they are influenced. 15 years ago when I studied radicalisation, there had to be human-to-human contact for a person to become fully radicalised, this is no longer the case. Millennials can become strongly influenced through the use of technology alone, no human-to-human contact is needed.
Lack of Person-to-Person Socialisation
Have a look around your lunchroom today at work, how many millennials will you see sitting at the same table with their heads down looking at their phones? Plenty I would suggest. Even when they get together with their friends they will be on their phones while also holding a conversation. The result of this is isolation.
Moreover, have you noticed the lack of facial expression by some of the Gen-Ys and Gen-Zs? Often it is difficult to know what they are feeling because it does not show on their face. We learn facial expressions by watching others....
Research strongly indicates that socialisation, talking in particular, reduces our stress levels. The more that we talk face-to-face, the greater the reduction in cortisol levels.
The use of technology is trying to change in 20 years what has occurred over thousands of years, and it simply can't work.
Again, in my humble opinion, millennials, in fact all of us, need to have a total break from technology for at least two hours each day and during that down-time we need to talk.
In this persons' humble opinion, it is as simple as that. Technology is fantastic and the way of the future, but until the wiring in our brain accommodates the new way of learning there needs to be a mid-point solution.