Lab 6 – Stress

Millennials are influenced by expectations coming from all the way around- outside as well as the inside. A pressure that comes from society, work, study, friends and, not least, their own ambitions. Millennials and their parents are heavily influenced by the last decade’s focus on the knowledge society and new education reforms that should create greater focus and progress in education and careers. These new norms millennials have taken on board for better or worse.

The pressure coming from the inside is the greatest

Millennials are ambitious and goal orientated to an unprecedented degree. At the same time, their biggest concern is whether they reach what they want and dream about. The high demands society and their circle of surroundings raise for them, they also raise for themselves and even higher. Throughout the education system, their abilities and efforts have been quantified as they themselves describe. They have accepted the new standards to such an extent that the greatest demands raised come from themselves. It is natural for them that their have to live up to their potential, and they therefore expect success with both education and jobs. They are willing to work hard for it and fully agree that there is no time to fumble or be unambitious. It is simply not acceptable in a generation that follow each other’s every move on social media.

Social media’s constant mirror
Millennials judge each other and themselves mostly on social media platforms. They mirror their own lives in others. Mostly, it is not the whole picture, but only the nice, perfect and successful side showcased. They know that they are staging themselves as those are the rules of the game in their lives and on social media. This generation mostly follows and accepts the community’s game rules but they are also engaged and activists in a new way. They are very aware of their consumer power, they are reflective, participating and debating. They have attitudes and participate in movements or create them themselves with likes and sharing, because it gives credit as they say. At the same time, it is their way of influencing and creating change. Companies and brands need to pay more attention to this and act on it.

“What society does, of course, helps to push me. But it is myself, the greatest pressure comes from.”

The downside of the ambitious life
The great expectations from the outside world and to themselves do not come for free. For example, Millennials are more stressed than the rest of the population. Research shows that up to 20% experience a constant level of stress. For the rest of the population it is only 15% (Source VFA) This is due to both their own ambitions and expectations of achievement in education and careers but also the constant reflection on social media is a pressure that can give a sense of inadequacy. The Millennials we talked to were aware of the social media’s many good social sides and opportunities, but at the same time also very aware that it is about maintaining control and not give in to the pressure.

Towards a new balance
Our interviews also showed that this generation knows that when they mirror themselves in others’ lives, it is harder to focus on their own. Just as they also mentioned the need for self-absorption and just being themselves in the present. Other studies show that the more time people spend on social media, the more exposed they are to depression. Millennials know it, feel it and reflect on it. It goes hand in hand with a burgeoning take control trend against off-time, digital detox and Facebook diet. A development that is worth following. What does this mean for the future online pattern? Or as Annette Piilgaard CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Denmark, express it: “Just as we thought that Millennials grew up in harmony with social media, new challenges arise that we must understand and act on. I’m sure we will see a new balance between people and social media. A road Millennials is going to define.”