People in their twenties and early thirties experience a sharp increase in job-related stress, negative emotions and overall angst. These effects heighten Millennials’ risk for burning out at work and poor emotional well-being, according to the Harvard Business Review.
According to a survey of more than 250,000 Happify users — a platform for emotional health and well-being — analysts found Millennials are obsessed with their jobs, socialize with friends less frequently than older people assume and invest little to no time in spiritual development.
Here are a few takeaways from the study, which provides insight into why many millennials find themselves in a “quarter-life crisis,” the tricky transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Millennials hold different values than older generations. When asked what they were grateful for, people typically respond with the things they personally recognize as important — what they appreciate and value. Researchers say that gratitude text can therefore provide a glimpse into the fundamental life priorities of individuals.
Across all ages, the most common topics were related to “spending quality time with family and friends.” Yet the topics for which Millennials specifically expressed the most gratitude were different: “positive interactions with colleagues,” “having a low-stress commute,” “getting a new job”, “being satisfied with an existing job,” “sleeping”, and “relaxing in bed.”
Four out of these six topics were career related and had to do with the process of finding a job or with daily work experiences, and the remaining two topics were related to time spent in bed.
Long-term goals centered on careers. According to the report, when asked to describe long-term goals, most millennials mentioned finding a new job with better benefits, higher pay and better hours; improved work-life balance; and work that was more intrinsically rewarding. Millennials were least likely to include faith and worship in their long-term goals. Whereas, users of all ages most commonly replied with answers related to time management, physical and emotional well-being.
Millennials want alleviated stress in the short-term. When asked what objectives people would like to achieve in a week’s time, most Happify respondents across all ages mentioned doing something challenging that they’ve been putting off and feeling happy despite annoyances and discouragement. For Millennials in particular, the four most common short-term goals were “do things from my to-do list,” “apply for a job,” “get out of my comfort zone” and “stop worrying”.
According to researchers, “this suggests Millennials are stressed and worried (and aware of it), and are occupied with getting a great job and going about it in a way that is conscientious and organized, unafraid of pushing the envelope and facing challenges. Looking at both long-term and short-term goals, we see a clear job focus and an attempt to address worry and stress.”
Time to get happy. Landing the perfect job and excelling at it, is a top priority for this generation which is also subjecting them to significant stress, according to the study. Millennials are quite aware of the stress in their lives and they seek ways to reduce it typically through working out and spending time relaxing in bed. Self-improvement is an important part of their lives, and it’s possibly viewed both as a developmental goal and as a means to reduce emotional distress.
The two areas this generation seems to distance themselves from— spirituality and close social affiliations — could be the missing ingredients that could make Millennials happier, according to the report.