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Why You Should Resolve to Stress Less


Joanna Dodd Massey Ph.D., MBA


Health, Fitness, and Beauty

With over 25 years of experience in the media industry at companies, such as Conde Nast, Lionsgate, CBS, Viacom, Discovery and Hasbro, Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA is a C-level communications executive and Board Director. She has managed brand reputation, corporate turnaround, crisis communications and culture transformation. Currently, Dr. Massey is a communications consultant, as well as Founder & CEO of The Marketing Communications Think Tank. She is a corporate speaker and trainer, as well as author of the books, "Communicating During a Crisis," and "Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace" (TVG Publishing, 2020).

It’s widely known that stress negatively effects our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. From tension headaches, ulcers and sleep issues to depression, anxiety and suicide, stress can impact every areas of our lives. Young adults—which today are Millennials (born 1981-1996) and Gen Z (born 1997-2010)—are particularly prone to stress. Since 2020 is the year of clear vision, let’s take a real look at how it is impacting these two generations.

Millennials deal with a lot of financial stress. The Great Recession in 2008 struck right as the oldest of them were entering the workforce, as a result, many of them struggled to get jobs and are behind financially. Add to that the fact that Millennials have more student debt than any generation before them and are now adding credit card debt onto it as the age and have families and the related expenses that go with it. As a generation, Millennials are not able to retire at the traditional age of 65. Millennials have been nicknamed the boomerang generation because more than 50% of them will have to move home or live with a relative due to financial issues at some point in their lives.


Gen Zers, who range from 10 to 23 years old this year, have a different kind of stress. As the first digital generation, they have never known a world without a cell phone and internet access. This is the most digitally connected generation we’ve ever had, and they suffer the effects of that. Studies have shown that people who spend more time on social media report feeling more unhappy and depressed than those who spend less time on social media. Furthermore, incidents of depression, anxiety and suicide have all risen amongst young adults. In 2018 research conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that a significant portion of Gen Zers identified gun violence and the environment as major sources of stress. Being constantly connected has its downfalls.



It is very important that as Millennials and Gen Z mature, they learn stress reduction techniques. Meditation, taking a week-long break from our social media, a daily spiritual practice, therapy and physical exercise are just a few ways to help reduce stress.


But why is it important to prioritize less stress? 

Stress is a vicious cycle:

Stress causes physical illness, which causes people to miss work. When people are younger—especially if they work in the gig economy and are freelancers—they tend to live check-to-check. If they have to miss work, they will not be bringing home as much money and that is a strain on paying the monthly bills, which will cause more stress. 

The long-term effects of stress are deadly:

Chronic stress can lead to life-threatening problems, including (but not limited to) stroke, heart disease, cancer, severe depression, anxiety and suicidality. 

 Less stress leads to clear thinking:

Life can be hard. Things happen that are dramatic and traumatic that cause us pain and suffering. Nobody can escape this reality. In order to deal with life’s ups and downs, we make better decisions when we are calm and confident, as opposed to when we are anxious and agitated. The way we manage stress plays a big role in how we respond to the rollercoaster ride of life.

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