Study: Millennials poised for work stress, burnout ahead of other generations

Older generations often dismiss the "quarter-life crisis" lamented by their millennial counterparts, but studies have found people in their twenties and early thirties do indeed experience a sharp increase in job-related stress, negative emotions and overall angst. Taken together, these effects heighten millennials' risk for burning out at work and poor emotional well-being, according to the Harvard Business Review.

According to a survey of more than 250,000 Happify users — a platform for emotional health and well-being — analysts found millennials are obsessed with their jobs, socialize with friends less frequently than older people believe and invest little to no time in spiritual development.

Here are three key findings from the study, which provide insight into why many millennials find themselves in a "quarter-life crisis," according to the Harvard Business Review.

1. Millennials value different things than older generations. When asked what they are grateful for, the most common response among Happify users of all ages was "spending quality time with family and friends." But for millennials specifically, the most common answers were "positive interactions with colleagues," "having a low-stress commute," "getting a new job," "being satisfied with an existing job," "sleeping" and "relaxing in bed," according to the report.

Millennials' focus on their jobs and relaxation could indicate their work is exhausting them. Additionally, the absence of answers related to relationships could point to feelings of isolation.

2. Millennials tend to associate long-term goals with their careers. When asked to describe their long-term goals, Happify users of all ages most commonly replied with answers related to time management, physical and emotional well-being. Millennials answered in kind, but were also more likely to lay out specific career goals. According to the report, when asked to describe long-term goals, most millennials mentioned finding a new job with better benefits, higher pay and better hours; improved work-life balance; and work that was more intrinsically rewarding. Millennials were least likely to include faith and worship in their long-term goals.

3. Millennials want to alleviate stress in the short term. When it comes to short-term goals — objectives people would like to achieve in a week's time — most Happify respondents across all ages mentioned doing something challenging that they've been putting off and feeling happy despite annoyances and discouragement. For millennials in particular, the four most common short-term goals were "do things from my to-do list," "apply for a job," "get out of my comfort zone" and "stop worrying." According to the report, millennials are stressed and worried, and they're aware of it.

Analysts suggest a remedy for millennials. Millennials are preoccupied with landing the perfect job and excelling in their work, subjecting them to significant stress and anxiety, according to the report. However, they are also aware of the stress in their lives and seek ways to reduce it, typically through exercise and relaxation. Self-improvement is an important part of their lives, and is also viewed as a method for reducing emotional distress. The two areas millennials seem to distance themselves from — spirituality and close social affiliations — could be the missing ingredients to improved happiness, according to the report.

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