Anxiety is something that many people are pretty familiar with. It was written about as early as the fourth century BCE, and Sigmund Freud addressed it as a disorder in 1926. But as time has passed, anxiety has become more prevalent in our society, particularly among younger generations. In 2013, a survey concluded that 57 percent of female college students said that they had experienced episodes of overwhelming anxiety at some point. Additionally, in the UK, a charity called YouthNet found that one in three women and one in 10 young men suffer from panic attacks. Marjorie Wallace, who is the CEO of a charity called Sane, believes that those born in the 1980s and 1990s are most affected by anxiety. Many experts feel the rise in this disorder for these generations is due to an increase in technology, overly-protective parenting styles, and test centered schooling.
Claire Eastham, who is 26 and writes a blog, says that she spends a lot of her time worrying about the decisions she will have to make, while previous generations had those decisions taken off of their hands. Today, many people obsess over the decision-making process. We will research all of our options and weigh the pros and cons, but eventually, our brains will become overloaded with information and we will be stressed about the decision. The technology that helps us do our obsessive research also plays a large role in raising our anxiety levels. Many millennials feel lost without their cell phones. They are the way we view the world and, with social media, they are the way we stay connected with people. But although social media can keep us connected with long lost friends, it can also be dangerous because it forces us to compare ourselves to others. We compare ourselves to our friends and the celebrities we follow, which can cause us to become depressed.
Prescription medication has often been the popular solution to anxiety. It makes pharmaceutical companies money and seems to do the trick. But, other methods, like cognitive therapy, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques are also often used to treat the disorder. But perhaps more surprisingly, music therapy has been used to treat anxiety successfully. In fact, neuroscientists have zeroed in on certain songs that can cause a dramatic reduction in anxiety when those suffering from it listen to them. Mindlab International researchers spent a lot of time studying which type of music leads to the greatest state of relaxation. They had people participate in a study where they were given difficult puzzles to solve. While completing these puzzles, they were hooked up to sensors and listening to a certain type of music as researchers studied their brain activity, heart rate, and blood pressure. The results indicated that one particular song, titled “Weightless” reduced participants’ anxiety by a whopping 65 percent. This song even made female participants so relaxed, that they nearly fell asleep while listening to it. This response was so overwhelming, that it led one researcher, Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, to recommend that people don’t listen to this particular song while driving.