Mindfulness and millennials

The American Psychological Association has reported that millennials – 16 to 35-year-olds – are the most stressed out generation in history. This group is turning to mindfulness in a big way to deal with the pressure of modern life. But can people of all ages benefit from the mindfulness revolution?

In this article you will learn:

  • The harm stress causes
  • Benefits of mindfulness
  • Apps and practices which can help with stress

Workplace stress can have a variety of negative effects on your performance at work and effects on your body including insomnia and high blood pressure. To help them cope with modern life, 64 per cent of people aged 16 to 35 say they practise activities to achieve mindfulness, such as yoga, journaling, or using apps. What can older colleagues learn from their younger peers?

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a way to prevent depression in people who have previously experienced it.

According to NHS England mindfulness is; “knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment,” and “allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly”.

Ways to do this include slowing down and waking up to the present moment; reconnecting with our senses and noticing things around us. Just as important is an awareness of thoughts and feelings as they happen from moment to moment and allowing ourselves to see the present moment more clearly – which enables us not to become obsessed with all the worrying details which may be nagging away at us. 

Practising it

Kate Ashley, a Kent-based yoga teacher who runs Rootedinyoga.com believes that “Western societies have become increasingly disconnected from the natural world, young people 16-35 even more, so due to being born in such a technological era. We are evolving into fast-paced, stressed out, techno junkies.”

Kate began practising yoga over 20 years ago to help deal with stress caused by eating disorders, she now specialises in Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings and Retreats.

Does she find that millennials are more open to the idea of mindfulness than their older peers? “School children and young adults are now are becoming increasingly exposed to and interested in yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Incorporating these incredible skills into daily life can help protect millennials from the detrimental health older generations are currently experiencing. Holistic healthcare is rising, yet sadly nowhere near the same rate as stress and disease.”

Mindfulness for wellbeing

Kate says that; “Yoga and all mindfulness-based practices will change the way you think, feel, and behave. With regular practise, you build strong physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The benefits are truly boundless.”

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, many people are using their smartphones to help them practise mindfulness; in fact mindfulness-based apps have been found effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Kate recommends:

  • Headspace – mindfulness and meditation guided practices (for all ages)
  • Michael Stone Teachings –an online meditation community with excellent resources
  • Insight Timer – the top free app connecting to meditations all over the world
  • Cosmic Kids – YouTube yoga channel for children 3-8yrs
  • Yoga Nidra Network – online free guided meditations from trained Yoga Nidra meditation teachers for sleep, pregnancy, and stress

But of course there are also a variety of simple steps that don’t involve your phone!

  • Notice the little things
  • Pick a regular time for your mindfulness
  • Do things differently
  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. 

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