Do You Experience 'Enjoyment Anxiety'?

Do you find yourself saying, ahead of a night out or holiday: Is this really going to be worth it?  

The way we derive value from situations has changed.

Extending from travel to weddings to events – the pressure we put on ourselves to make our hard-won leisure time the most raucous and memorable possible takes us out of the moment, making sitting back and savouring our adventures tough.

We've come to understand that this sensation as 'enjoyment anxiety' – the name given to the pressurised need on you to 'live your best life'. 

The rise of enjoyment anxiety can be linked, in part, to a societal shift that sees us spend on things rather than experiences. 

Millennials, specifically, are leading the charge here—a 2016 survey by private equity firm McKinsey & Company found that millennials outspend Gen X and Baby Boomers on things like entertainment and fitness memberships in an average month, sometimes twofold.

Yet unlike material goods, experiences are highly subjective.

If you drop €500 on a handbag, you know exactly what you’re going to get. But if you spend the same amount on music festival tickets, a myriad of variables can potentially impact the outcome—  rain, cancelled acts, tent leak.

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So again, if these things happen, many are left to wonder: Was it worth it?

We, as generation burnout, are always too busy to slow down – we see the weekend as a time to savour and grab with both hands, adding the pressure to succeed on top of everything else. 

The stress derived from this endless loop of slogging can make free time harder to enjoy when it is available. That, paired with the edited showreel of Instagram as well as the planet literally in flames around us, has perpetuated the 'live like there's no tomorrow' philosophy – to a millennial's detriment. 

This, however, can be remedied. 

1. Create boundaries between work and leisure time 

Unplug at regularly scheduled intervals throughout each day. This can be as simple as having lunch away from your desk or turning off phone notifications. 

2. Figure out what you actually enjoy doing

Make a list and allocate sections of your calendar to doing just that, like an appointment. 

3. Try to appreciate the good times

Remember that every opportunity to experience something new is a cause for celebration—even if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected. 

Main image by @90sanxiety

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