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It’s no secret that there has been a rise in mental health issues over the last 40 years. Disorders that use to plague a select few now besets an entire generation — hence the reason why Gen Y has been deemed the “anxious generation”. Older folks are quick to write millennials off as lazy and entitled, but quite the contrary.

“A 2017 study found that perfectionism is more prevalent than ever. This is important to note because a lot of research connects perfectionism with anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”- The Thirty

Even though we have the ability to connect with different kinds of people from all over the world at any given time, thanks to social media, millennials reportedly  feel lonelier than any other generation.

“A study from the Intergenerational Foundation that compared three generations of young people, today’s millennials are unhappier and lonelier than previous generations, reporting a lower sense of wellbeing across areas including health, relationships, and finances. The quality of family relationships declined “by more than 50 percent between 2005 and 2015″, while close friendships fell by six percent.” – Bustle

Research also claims that feeling lonely is as dangerous to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Socioeconomics, race and gender also play a part in experiencing loneliness in life — but for millenials as a whole, social media seems to be the biggest culprit. 77 percent of Americans reportedly have a social media account of some kind, but regardless of the platform, the effects on health are the same.

“What happens many times when they log on is that you kind of activate a lot of social comparison. People don’t necessarily have to be super aware that this is occurring, but it does. You log on, you’re generally dealing with very curated content on the other side.” – Oscar Ybarra, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan

Starting your healing process and staying off social media is not as easy as some may think. Social media started out as just a leisure thing to do and now it’s involved in every aspect of our lives. So what’s a practical cure for the daunting feeling of isolation? Experts say that prioritizing social interaction and feeling connected to something or someone are major keys to healing.

“Research has found that attachment to even just a place reduces loneliness. If everyone decided to remain in the same city or town for a lifetime, as people once did for centuries, we’d receive the two best remedies for loneliness — a home and a community.” – Psychology Today

It’s cool to be independent and self-reliant, but the truth of the matter is that humans are social beings and we need each other. So put down the phone for a day or two or three and go talk to someone IRL.

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