A new survey shows that teenagers and young adults today are stressed to the max. A news source said, “Compared to their elders over 25, Gen Z are about twice as likely (42 percent versus 23 percent) to struggle with depression and feelings of hopelessness.”
That’s a startling number that should get us thinking about why this upcoming generation is more likely to feel stressed and hopeless.
First of all, it must be said that social media and the digital age have created a platform for people to share our feelings.
Just the invention of emojis, which would seem strange to people living 100 years ago, shows how much we care about emotional expression. Every day we text each other and share how we feel about this or that; not with words but with small symbolic emojis that share our emotions.
Putting that together, we now have a generation of young people who are used to talking about their feelings, perhaps more than previous generations would have liked to share.
Also, the constant bombardment with what’s going on in the world and in other people’s lives can sometimes lead to feelings of helplessness, followed by hopelessness. We see the tragedy of a gunfight and feel helpless, then hopeless. We hear about things as simple as someone having a bad day (or having a great day while we’re having a bad day), and that kind of brings us down too.
We know about all of this because screens are everywhere and those glowing rectangles in our lives are a constant reminder of the world around us. It’s no wonder this generation, constantly connected and bombarded, feels stressed.
How should we advise Gen Z and ourselves in these times of pressure? Many people need professional help from licensed counselors and ministers. For others, it might be so simple that they recommend taking a break from their smartphones.
Famed Christian author and Nazi Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom said: “If you look at the world, you will be in despair. If you look inward you will be depressed. If you look to God, you will rest.”
Someone once said that the antidote to despair is action. Christians know that God created us to serve Him and our neighbors, not to stand idly by. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:25).
If you too are feeling stressed out watching cable news or social media, take a break and do something meaningful. read your bible Pray. To go for a walk. rinse something off Call a friend. Write a note. Work on your lawn. Try to serve someone in need. These are just some ideas for a stressed and tired generation.
Finally, we know that God gave us the Church, the family of God. Don’t try to carry your burdens alone. The next time you or a young person you know is struggling, see if their church, the Bible, and prayer can be a source of encouragement.
We may not be able to heal all of Gen Z’s fears and worries. But we certainly know the One who can. Experiencing the peace of God will lead anyone of any generation not to feel stressed or depressed; but feel blessed.
“… Cast all your cares on Him; because He cares about you(1 Peter 5:7 KJV).
Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash