How Anxiety Has Slowly Crept Up On Us

A few weeks ago, I did a interview on the Mike Goldman show about Empower U and the changes I’ve seen in teenagers over my years of running the program. While many of the issues that young people face have remained the same in the last 17 years, there has been one topic that has grown exponentially in the last 7-10 years… and that is Anxiety.

20 years ago, no one really knew what the word anxiety even meant, and few people suffered from it. Today however, almost everyone at least knows someone who has anxiety, if not suffers from it themselves in some shape or form. So what has been the catalyst for this change? Why are we seeing consistently decreasing standards of overall mental health in young people?

In 2008, the iPhone came out… and it was a technological advance that truly changed the world. Today, everyone has a smartphone. We are constantly checking our screens for notifications, messages, and reminders which provide us with external validation. We form a dependency, and even an addiction to these notifications. We’re tuning out of conversations and becoming less present. Whenever we’re in a situation where it might be slightly uncomfortable or awkward, we’re pulling out our phones. Furthermore, a number of studies have shown that constantly being plugged in and receiving notifications is overwhelming our ability to regulate our thoughts and emotions, creating anxiety and distracting us from being present which is what is leading to this massive growth in anxiety.

In order to change, we need to create healthy habits around technology. Set rules and limitations on yourself so that you’re creating time where you can be present. When we’re present, we sit in our own thoughts and we ask ourselves questions. If we’re constantly distracted by technology, we never get the opportunity to have that time with ourselves. We don’t ask ourselves what we want in life. Or how we plan on reaching our goals. Or how we can make a situation better. We just accept what we have and if we don’t like it, we find other means of stimulation to stop thinking about it. It is this lack of being present and asking ourselves the important questions that creates this tension and anxiety in us.

To see me speak more about this topic, click on the video below and for more information on the Empower U Program, head to www.tomorrowsyouth.com.au/empoweru

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