Millennials receive flack for just about everything, but one reasonably accurate point is their propensity for stress. An overload of cortisol has been dragging this generation down in recent years. You likely know the cause of your distress, but what about the rest of your peers? What’s keeping them up at night? The reasons are more complicated than you think.

A few common denominators contribute to millennial stress rates, which you’ll read about below. Though it’d be more convenient to have one identifiable stressor, most people deal with several, and millennials face a new set of situations other generations don’t. The shining light in all this? You’re in the prime of your life, and there’s still time to improve. Keep reading to learn about what makes millennials tick — you may realize something new about yourself.

Social Media and Technology

Social media isn’t the bane of existence like many claim it is, but it does have a tangible effect on one’s self-image and thoughts. Seeing your peers celebrate and live glamorous lives can easily trap you in a case of FOMO. You don’t want to experience it, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel like you’re falling behind the others. Negative comparisons like this are why many millennials feel unhappy about their life’s standing.

Social media can be a safe place for those without offline support systems, but it’s a double-edged sword. You’re always in touch with strangers who are emboldened to say or do anything behind a screen. Cyberbullying and harassment are prevalent, with 41% of Americans experiencing online antagonism. And with millennials’ connection to technology, it’s not as easy as turning off a device and walking away. The mental and emotional scars from digital harassment are long-lasting.

Workplace Woes

Many older workers are forthcoming about their dislike of working with younger people. A lot of them will tell you millennials want too much, complain about everything and have no job loyalty. As always, the issues are more intricate than that.

Millennials are generally well-educated with high self-esteem, meaning they know what they deserve and how to get it. Few people want to settle for less at their jobs — so if a millennial feels underappreciated or wants a promotion, they’re going to express that. They recognize the workaholic style of yesteryear isn’t conducive to anyone’s health, and they want to overhaul it for the better — or leave if their job refuses to accommodate. Change is often met with resistance, whether it’s good or bad.

Millennials make up most of the modern workforce. It’s not unreasonable to say many workplaces need an upgrade in policies and procedures if they wish to keep their younger workers. It’s increasingly apparent to these employees that old traditions won’t always work in a new world — which is why they either push for change or move to better prospects.

Unrealistic Expectations

Whether these expectations come from themselves or overbearing parents, millennials experience a lot of pressure to succeed. Success looks different for everyone, but it’s not out of bounds to say many view it as homeowning, being financially stable and establishing a family. These things were easier to do for baby boomers, in a time where forming your life wasn’t ridiculously expensive. The same isn’t correct for millennials, though, which is why many have aimed their goals elsewhere.

Previous generations often judge millennials’ financial instability and lack of homebuying. However, few consider that this age group doesn’t have ready access to the dreams their parents encourage them to seek. Seventy-one percent of millennials want homeownership but don’t know how to attain it because of debts and unstable careers.

Others have shed the American Dream and set their sights on more achievable plans. Their goals are different, but goals nonetheless — such as prioritizing happiness and finding a fulfilling job. If homeowning or creating a family isn’t feasible within the next 10 years, it’s better to prioritize other objectives than force an unworkable concept.

Mental Health

Countless people across the world struggle with mental health issues every day. These can manifest as a cause or result of a stressor, but in any case, they’re detrimental to one’s health. It’s unsurprising, then, that millennials deal with substantial mental health issues. Depression and anxiety plague millions each day, and beyond these two are many more difficult disorders.

Depression is on the rise in millennials, with a 47% increase in recent years. Teens — who make up Generation Z — are right behind them with 63%. Millennials and Gen Zers have grown up similarly under the influence of technology, gold star ideology and increased social awareness. However, Gen Zers are distinct from millennials in their soaring rates of mental health issues, need for individuality and consistent commitment to social causes.

It’s clear that the next generation has a lot to come up against, and their mental wellness is taking the hit for it. You know how stressful life can be for younger generations — start advocating for mental health reform on a broad scale. The world needs it.

Managing Stress Isn’t Impossible

Stress is a normal part of life, but it helps to work through it if you notice you’re more upset than usual. Prolonged distress takes a toll on your body and mind and even changes the structure of your brain. Reach out to friends, relatives or professionals if you need it. Take each day as it comes and make the best of your experiences.