Words by Frou Williams.
We're connected more than ever so why is it statistics show increasing rates of depression, loneliness and anxiety especially for those in their 20s and early 30s?
A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development found that 39% of men and 49% of women reported feeling similar 'crisis' feelings characterised by disappointment, insecurity, anxiety, loneliness and depression. The quarter life crisis as it's been formally dubbed, whilst it may have a slightly different trigger for each individual, is a very real and common experience for 20 somethings in our culture.
Aside from the obvious of a different economy and job market to what our parents may have experienced, social pressures have changed along with a shift in gender roles but a lot of this is to do with technology. And more specifically, social media. FOMO anyone?
Social media fuels our appetite for make believe, happily ever afters and seemingly flawless existences. Despite knowing that what we see is just a selection of carefully curated images, we are often left feeling inadequate, unhappy and with increased negative self talk around our perceived level of 'success' or where we 'should' be at this point in our lives. It is no shock then that a study by the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found a huge correlation between rates of anxiety and depression with increased use of social media.
Ironic then, you might think to share this message on the very platforms that you suggest that increases anxiety, FOMO and negative self image? Like it or loathe it, social media is here to stay so it is important to use it as a force for positive change, to break through the noise, help others who may not know how to help themselves and to connect with people who may be experiencing similar feelings.
When you experience moments or waves of self doubt, insecurity or any other negative dialogue, a good place to start is to remind yourself that you're not in this alone and to remember that beneath the social media veil things are often not as they may seem.
The perfect couple who may argue, what those men and women sacrifice to have those 'perfect' bodies - meals out with friends and family replaced with regimented eating and strict exercise routines, the perfect family and what dreams they may have had to put on hold to make room for having a family younger than they had planned.
Nothing and no life is perfect. Working out what makes you tick and gets you excited, is a great way to keep you feeling connected to yourself and fill you with a sense of purpose. Because on the whole, whilst we can think; 'I'd like to lose 'x', have her hair or his abs, that car and go on that holiday', when we're connected to ourselves and content in the now it truly is incredibly hard to feel bad about ourselves. And when we feel good about ourselves we're more likely to want to be around others, be more tolerant, giving and an all round better version of ourselves.