If you think millennials had it tough, think again. Gen Z-ers, born 1995 onward, have never really known a world without a smartphone. Imagine your entire life being defined and driven by instant gratification and external validation. It’s got to mess with your head a little, or a lot.
Depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues and being ridiculously hard on yourself can really wear you down in the long run. 10 years ago ‘instant gratification and external validation’ were terms loosely used in psychiatric journals to describe symptoms of disorders. Today, they’re buzzwords of the new-gen. While this may not affect you much when you’re at Uni or school, the world of adulting needs you to be a little less addicted to the phone and figuring out what you like outside of it.
And yeah, we’re all Insta-stalkers and love our dose of social media but keeping it just the part, and not the whole of what you base your entire life on, is when the struggle gets real.
So what can you do to balance the internal with the external? We’ve rounded up some quick-fixes that will get you on track and make you feel a whole lot better about yourself.
1. The problem: Insta-gratification
Gratification, if it serves a purpose and is in moderation - like getting quicker service or functioning more efficiently – ain’t all bad. The key is in making sure that gratification serves you and not vice versa. You can always get what you want but sometimes you may need to wait just a little bit.
Exercising patience and training the brain to act differently is the first step. The second is to observe what our mind is doing during the ‘waiting game’.
“Anxiety is linked to negative thought patterns. It is important to observe them, feel them and eventually learn to let them go,”
2. The problem: Anxiety
There’s a ton of flakiness amongst Gen Z-ers. Getting ghosted, whether by an S.O or a friend, is more common than not.
“We’re always looking for the next best thing,we basically never want to commit, so there’s no concrete anything in our lives.”
The common scenarios associated with ‘anxiety’ are, “First, are you catastrophizing? Meaning are you always seeing the worst-case scenario… or could there be a positive outcome that you may be missing? Second, are you mind-reading and assuming the worse reaction from a person when they ‘ghost you’,” Or could it possibly be that they’re just taking time to answer, because that’s just how they roll? And three, are you projecting your values and ‘should statements’ onto others?
3. The problem: Sleep starvation
“I can run on five hours a night,” Chantel says. What’s stopping a 21-year-old from sleeping? “I don’t know. My mind is always on-the-go. I’m always thinking of what I need to do and how I could do it better.” Dana, a 20-year-old student says, “I’m not a very good sleeper either. It’s just tough to slow my mind down.” When asked if it was because of late nights or all-nighters for school.
Sleep is one of least acknowledged needs of human survival, but it ranks right up there with food and shelter. Lack of sleep was used by secret service agencies to torture spies. It takes 11 days of lack of sleep (and 21 days of lack of food) to kill someone. Over 400 recent studies prove that
“Diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety - to name a few - are all linked to poor sleep and stress!”
So how do you incorporate good sleep hygiene into your daily diet? Whether or not you can function on five hours is immaterial, seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep is the human requirement, Gen Z! Sleeping and waking with nature’s circadian rhythm (bedtime just, or a few hours, after sunset and waking at, or a few hours, after sunrise) is key. Alternatively, sleeping and waking consistently, at the same time every night, also works.
4. The problem: Flex-ternal validation
Constantly comparing yourself with others is a problem all of us have had for as long as we can remember. But Gen Z takes the whole idea of showing off to an entirely different level.Seeking pleasure is an important part of life, just so as long as it doesn’t take over the whole. The mind sadly confuses pleasure (which is short term, and only one prong of the happiness model) with real happiness, which is long term and sustainable.
So how does one achieve that perfect homeostatic balance of life? The age-old yogis and positive psychology scientists both agree, that the key to absolute happiness is a multi-part formula ; passion,purpose,higherpurpose,health and wellbeing.
5. The problem: Flex-ternal validation
In the ‘old’ days, when someone wanted a break from work, life or problems, we would go for a walk, put on a movie (never steeped in reality) or loose oneself in an unreal TV series. Today, the we binge watch Netflix alongside fast and furiously swiping down our Instagram and FB accounts.
Most of us today, rarely go for that walk or play that sport at all.
"When Gen Z-ers take a break, they look at others perfect airbrushed lives which makes them feel worse about themselves. Get another hobby!"
It’s key to remind yourself, that no matter how perfect someone’s life looks on the outside, studies have revealed that 99 per cent of people on social media only share 10 per cent of their extremely filtered reality. So what does that other 80 to 90 per cent of their lives consist of… the raw truth, which (even with the best airbrushing) definitely ain’t pretty!
It’s unfair to compare our own un-manicured back stages, to everyone else’s perfectly manicured front stages, because one peek behind the curtain will reveal a chaotic and ugly back stage that you just didn’t see, because no one let you!