Why Are Young Adults So Stressed? 7 Tips on How to Manage Stress

Why Are Young Adults So Stressed today

You are not alone in asking, “why are young adults so stressed?” Recently, it has become apparent to health professionals and many others that this generation of young adults is more stressed than others before them. Stress leads to a lot of other problems.

This post will discuss why young adults are so stressed, the causes of stress, statistics, and tips on managing stress.

So, Why Are Young Adults So Stressed?

The question is, why are young adults so stressed? The answer suggests that life changes affect the stress levels of young adults. A research study involving 4819 subjects between the ages of 18 – 29, led by psychologist M Pilar Matud. The study says that young adults go through so much in their lives, resulting in stress and psychological distress. Changes affecting young adults include their living arrangements, relationships, education, and employment (NIH).

What Causes Stress in Young Adults?

  • The long-term health of a close friend, relative or family member
  • Bills or Debt
  • Being compared to others
  • Appearance and body image
  • Housing and accommodation worries
  • Relationships
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Pressure to be successful
  • Social media

Young Adults Stress Statistics

Below are young adults and youth stress statistics you should know, as the age lines here are blurry.

  • Youth Ages: 12 – 17 years old
  • Young Adult Ages: 18 – 29 years old
  1. The significant sources of stress in young adults include work (76%), money (73%), relationships (59%), economy (55%), and family responsibilities (56%) (USAToday).
  2. Depression in youth usually persists in young adults when left untreated.
  3. 13.84% of youth report suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  4. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), in 2020, 19% of young adults say they are experiencing worse mental health than they were in 2019.
  5. More than 2.3 million youth (9.7 percent of the youth population) are currently dealing with severe major depression.
  6. Youth and Young adult depression are usually accompanied by other mental issues or maladies, such as anxiety, disorderly behavior, or substance abuse.
  7. Almost 4% of youth in the U.S. had a substance abuse problem in 2019.  
  8. More than half of the youth (59.6%) with major depression go untreated.
  9. Major depressive episodes in youth increased by 206,000 from last year’s reports.
  10. There was an increase in the number of youth experiencing severe major depressive episodes by 126,000 compared to previous years.

(Youth data are taken from American Psychological Association, Mental Health America, Youth ranking, 2021)

How Stress Affects Young Adults

Apart from the physical symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and insomnia, which have been mentioned above, stress, as a result of these symptoms, has substantial effects on the lives of young adults.

According to the National Center for Complementary and integrative health, stress will cause your body to respond by releasing adrenaline. This will, in turn, affect your heart rate, elevate your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, and make you sweat. We should be worried when stress becomes chronic, as this may adversely affect your health problems such as disorders in sleep, digestion, headaches, and soon. Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression (to name a few) are also affected by stress. Conditions such as asthma can be worsened by stress (NIH).

As a result of stress, many young adults cannot hold a job, be involved in a meaningful relationship, lack motivation and social skills, and cannot perform at their peak.

Below is How Stress Affects Young Adults (From Various Sources)

Why Are Young Adults So Stressed?
  • Drinking or increased drinking
  • Smoking or increased smoking
  • Overeating or unhealthy eating
  • Drug use
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings
  • Loneliness or isolation

Stress Symptoms in Young Adults

When stressed, our bodies release hormones that affect our moods and behaviors. Learn about these stress hormones and what they do to us! Stress affects everyone differently. Some people may experience anxiety or depression, while others might feel irritable or angry. Find out more about the different types of stress!

Stress can be caused by work, family, relationships, finances, etc. Learn more about stress symptoms in young adulthood and how to deal with them.

Stress can cause physical and emotional problems for people at any age. Young adults often face unique stressors that can affect their lives.


According to recent research, anxiety is a symptom of stress common among young adults. They can also lead to other issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. It’s important to recognize these signs so you can seek help.


Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses among young people. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in every four young people will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point. Other studies show that up to 20% of college students have experienced major depressive episodes.


If you feel stressed, try to identify what is causing the stress. Is it something you can control? Or is it something outside of your control? You might need to learn new ways to cope with stressful situations.


Many people who suffer from fatigue also report feeling stressed. These two feelings may be related. However, there are some differences between the two. While fatigue and stress can cause similar symptoms, such as irritability, sleepiness, and headaches, fatigue lasts longer than stress.


Insomnia is a common symptom of stress. If you feel tired during the day, try to identify what might be causing the problem. Is it because you haven’t slept well at night? Are you having trouble sleeping due to anxiety or other issues? Do you need to make changes in your lifestyle?

How to Manage Stress in Young Adults

Managing stress in young adults is an important skill to develop as they enter adulthood. Read on to discover some tips to help you cope with stress.

Stress affects everyone differently, so there isn’t just one way to handle it. But some things can help you reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

Understand What Causes Stress

There are many different reasons why people feel stressed out. It might be because of work pressures, family responsibilities, financial worries, relationship issues, or even something as simple as being stuck in traffic. Whatever the cause, understanding what causes stress will help you manage it better.

Be Aware of Triggers

It’s also important to recognize what causes your stress. If you notice that you feel anxious or angry more often than usual, you should try to identify what’s causing those feelings. Is something going on at home or school making you feel bad? Are there environments or people that increase your stress? Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you need to spend less time on social media?

Learn How to Manage your Emotions

It’s normal to feel stressed out at times, especially when you’re dealing with new challenges. However, feeling overwhelmed by stress can lead to negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, frustration, and sadness. If you get upset quickly, try taking a break and doing something relaxing. You might also consider talking to a friend or family member who will support you through difficult situations.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that helps people become more aware of what’s going on inside them. This awareness allows them to respond appropriately rather than react emotionally. Practicing mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment.

why young adults experience stress

Find Ways to Relax

There are lots of different ways to manage stress. One of the most important ways to do so is to be intentional about relaxation.

You might take a break from work, go out with friends, exercise, meditate, or even talk to a trusted friend. Whatever works for you, make sure you permit yourself to relax.

Another way to relax is to schedule time for relaxation in your daily calendar. This will give you time to think about what you need to do next and also allow you to recharge your energy levels. Another option is to spend more time outdoors. Spending time outside helps you to clear your mind and reduces stress.

Don’t Forget About Sleep!

Sleep is an essential part of managing stress. Some individuals get so stressed out that insomnia becomes a problem. Your brain needs to be able to shut down so that it can rest. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you should talk to your doctor about any underlying medical issues.

You can also try some home remedies to encourage sleep, such as taking a hot bath with lavender just before bedtime, drinking chamomile or lavender tea, getting a massage, soaking yourself in bath salts, playing soft, gentle music, turning off or dimming lights, all of these can help relax you and help you fall asleep faster. Try not to drink caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime, or turn on the television, as these can make falling asleep difficult.

Take Care of Yourself

Most young people get extremely busy doing so many different things. From athletics, work, education, social life, and family, getting lost in one’s daily demands is easy. Young adults should take the time to care for themselves. There are so many ways self-neglect could lead to stress. For instance, poor diet, lack of exercise, not taking time to relax or meditate, staying in hostile environments, and so on are all factors that can affect one’s stress level.

Know When to Seek Help

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by stress, there are things you can do to reduce it. First, try to identify the source of the problem. Is it something external, such as a job or relationship issue, or internal, such as a lack of confidence or self-esteem? Once you understand where the stress comes from, you can start to tackle it head-on.

how to deal with stress in young people

A Few Final Words

Young adults are going through so much, so it is not uncommon to run into the question, why are young adults so stressed? The good news is that there is something that can be done. If you are a young adult experiencing stress, and if it is affecting your quality of life, seek help immediately.

Remember, while we strive to provide accurate information, based on our research or interviews with professionals on this blog, we are not doctors and do not purport to treat any ailments, illnesses, or disorders. If you are suffering from stress, depression, or any other mental illness, please contact a licensed psychologist to assist you with your ailment.

Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

Find me on: Web | Twitter


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