Anxiety? Our post 9-11 fears.

Elaine Brennan

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What cause millennials anxiety?

Anxiety is a often discussed and widely experienced mental health issue. Anxiety has become part of our vocabulary since the noughties. It could be defined as the new way of describing an unconscious fear of the future. Yet anxiety could be holding people back.

People often describe themselves as being anxious about their futures. Some use the word in relation to phobias or things that make them feel uncomfortable. This can be for example the sinking feeling you get before you walk into an important interview.

How has this new awareness come about? Have our worlds have become more anxiety-inducing? What do people fear today? Why is fear often the default reaction to world events?

In America, fears range from the large to otherwise. A Gallup poll carried out in 2005  described terrorism as the number one fear, followed closely by spiders. One in twenty teenagers in the same study admitted a fear of war on home soil, a third world war, or ‘being drafted.’ Fear of failure was also prominent on the list of fears, with a fear of ‘not measuring up’ or ‘the workforce collapsing’ mentioned.Has this changed today, twelve years on?

One of the many terms given to this age is the ‘age of narcissism’. Lynne Malcolm’s 2014 discussion makes for interesting reading.  Narcissism scores among young people were much higher in the noughties (2000-2010) than in the previous two decades.

 

 

 

So are young people even more needy now? With higher rates of plastic surgery and selfie culture, the answer appears to be yes. There seems to be a movement from anxiety to self-anxiety that needs to be further explored. In a post-Trump world, we need to be looking at what influences young people, and why. Only then can we apply it to voting habits.

 

 

 

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Elaine Brennan