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Image / Editorial

It’s Official: Irish Young People Are Really Stressed


by Jennifer McShane
23rd Jun 2016

At IMAGE, we speak and write a lot about stress. What causes it, how to combat it and the importance of speaking out about it. Sadly, no one is immune from its burden; stress can come at any age, but according to a self-care statistic report from Unilever released this morning, it is Ireland’s modern day affliction, particularly for the young people of today. Of those surveyed, 64% (a figure significantly higher than the nationwide average of 48%) claimed that stress is a constant part of their everyday life, with two-thirds of feeling the pressures of daily’stresses in comparison to only one-third of 55-year-olds.

Why Are?Young People So Stressed?

First and foremost, our ‘always-on’ culture is causing havoc with our wellbeing; people are inundated every day with the equivalent amount of 34GB of information, a sufficient quantity to overload a laptop within a week, according to the report. The younger generation feels?they simply can’t switch off; this means earlier starts, longer working hours and less time to devote to our own personal health and mental and emotional happiness.

Other things such as unrealistic work demands, high expectations and financial strain are all contributing hugely to the pressures of modern day life in Ireland. And we’re all busy people; six out of ten claims to have a busy life with many suffering from ?hurry sickness? as we strive to do more in less time, putting ourselves under pressure to maintain the perfect ?work hard, play hard? balance.

Our brains aren’t really able to cope with the wide scale of information we are exposed to every day, which is where a lot of problems arise in terms of stress

Information Overload?

Young people are not only always on, but they’re also more aware of the issues going on around them. From blogs, vlogs, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter to real-time news bulletins, we’re exposed to a phenomenal amount of information, and this is breeding a generation of ‘infomaniacs‘?otherwise known as digital junkies. And the problem here is that there is no let-up. The content will never cease to exist (such is the wonder of the internet), so how are you realistically ever going to assuage your cravings? There’s no possible way to absorb or retain all the digital information, and this leads to feelings of extreme stress and anxiety. Exposed indirectly to more complex and varied experiences, our emotions have gone into overdrive, and this is resulting in a constant state of ?emotional hopping? which equals severely stressed out minds.

Here’s What You Can Do About It?

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. A positive to all this is that young people in Ireland are more aware of the importance of the need to take care of themselves; they are now seeking small and easy ways to help feel better. And it’s the little things that matter and make a real difference, be it five minutes of meditating, engaging in mindfulness colouring, tracking or managing exercise. And in terms of stress management, it’s making a big difference. A massive 65% agreed that finding small ways to manage my day-to-day stress helped them to cope better with modern day living. Daily grooming is important too; with?over half agreeing that their daily beauty/ grooming routines have just as much influence on their everyday sense of wellbeing as diet and exercise.

There is an increase in demand for products that help people emotionally. People are looking for quick fixes

This ties into Sensory Care – personal care products that are designed to stimulate the senses – offering emotional benefits that help to de-stress. As a consequence of busy, stressful lives, Irish people are increasingly looking for little ways to manage their emotions and boost their moods be it from their favourite scented moisturiser or mood-enhancing body sprays.

So, while it’s rather alarming to see stress be such a prominent factor in the lives of young people here in Ireland, what is encouraging is that they are aware of it and are looking to take care of themselves, as the first step to feeling less stressed is to take care of number one – yourself.

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