Anxiety is the Mental Health Disorder of Millennials

Anxiety is at epidemic proportions these days in teens and twenty-somethings. It stops countless people from living full lives. Often, the symptoms are misread or minimized, so that many young adults that I mentor come to me trapped by their anxieties but not knowing how to deal with them.

Now for the good news: There are ways to rise above anxiety permanently.

I work with Millennials in their teens and twenties coming to me with issues such as: failure to launch, low self-esteem, pot addiction, video game addiction, school failures and even Asperger's Syndrome. 90% of them suffer from Anxiety and most of the time it is that under-current that propels all their other issues.

Anxiety is a major impediment these days. We can think about the reasons of why this is happening in such great numbers or we can just start helping young adults suffering from anxiety right now using the following four vanquishers.

The Four Anxiety Vanquishers:
Breathing; Negative Self-Speak; Dorothy Syndrome; Visualization

Remember Marvin Martian?

That is what most people starting to ramp up in anxiety look like (minus the ray-gun). AKA: Shallow breathing. The new apple watch has it right. Take time in each day to do deep, diaphragmatic breaths, a minimum of three good, deep ones and up to five minutes of it each day (if you can stand it). The shallow breathing tells your mind/body that you are in distress. Your body goes into action and pumps you full of natural chemicals that guaranty the fight-or-flight feeling. That translates into anxiety for those who have been living that pattern. The first step... the deep relaxed breaths. (Think of puppy sighs).

Positive Self-Speak
The voice that you hear in your head is a sort of loop that can be helpful or ramp up your anxiety. Train your inner-voice to be helpful. If it says something like "you're going to end up in the hospital" when it is not the case. Argue with it. Point out how you usually survive your anxiety attacks without the need to escalate. Find a phrase... eg: "Your are going to be fine" or "You can make it through" etc.,

Dorothy Syndrome (There's no place like home).

I have noticed that a lot of the young adults I mentor have a specific barrier as they leave home where anxiety kicks in. It could be 10 blocks, it could be at a certain landmark or major intersection. Oddly enough, they often aren't aware of this geographical boundary. Check to see if you have one. If you do... drive to somewhere in the comfort zone of your boundary and slowly, day-by-day push up to, then past that boundary. Over time, you can soften and then eliminate it.


So many people find that it is almost impossible to stop their mind from thinking every moment of the day. This can lead to trouble sleeping but is often I cause of anxiety issues in the young adults I work with through Skype. What I recommend is to find a five minute visualization exercise that speaks to you. Try it every day. Slowly build up the time; five minutes, ten.. fifteen.

There will be days when you need to go back to the minimum and their will be days that if you can stop your mind's chatter for three seconds that this is a good session. Be kind to yourself and notice when you have these three seconds of silence.

A good Mentor for young adults uses all these techniques to help start the path of helping people get in control of their bodies and minds. It is not a quick change but it can become a lasting one. Be kind to yourself, find a good mentor and share your concerns with people who will actively listen.

You are not alone.

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If you or someone you know is at risk please contact your nearest Crisis Centre or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a counsellor.

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