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How the global rise in anxiety can be a catalyst for change

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Jan 13, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

We are in a new age of anxiety and people all over the world are feeling anxious. Discover how younger generations are turning their fear into an opportunity for change.

Andrea Bell, WGSN’s Director of Insight, takes a deep dive into the factors feeding our anxiety, from the global polycrisis to more specific issues of eco-anxiety and the rising cost of living. We cover the shift of anxiety from URL to IRL, what inspires youth activists to drive change and why emotional healing is an emerging consumer need.

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Andrea Bell

Anxiety is the great unifier

“It’s affecting everyone, it’s an era of fragmentation. Anxiety and our mental health is the great unifier whether you’re 14 years old sitting in South Korea, or you’re 82 years old in a retirement home. There’s different levels of cognitive therapy, different levels of how you can ease your anxiety. But at the core, every single person wants to know, how can I be mindful, but more importantly, how can I just stop the noise?”

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The two faces of the internet

“We dubbed it armageddon fatigue. No matter what country you sit in, there’s so many inputs why anxiety is rising. Truly, it is rising in certain regions and for certain demographics. In South Korea, India and parts of the US, anxiety and fear around anxiety is rapidly increasing. But there are – dare I use the term – “safe spaces” now and while the internet creates these negative spaces and dismal data, they offer safe spaces as well.”

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The continued rise of youth activism

“This younger generation is truly voting with their feet and their values, whether that’s sustainability, bodily autonomy, workers’ rights. They’re trying to use their voice in a way that’s going beyond just a social media post. So there is a definite sea change from just sitting behind a computer and screaming into the void, and actively engaging with politics in your local community.”
–  Andrea Bell, Director of Insight, WGSN

Head to Apple or Spotify to hear the full discussion on our Lives of Tomorrow podcast episode, Anxiety on the rise.

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