New poll suggests some younger Canadians stressed going into new year

A new survey by the Angus Reid Institute indicates many Canadians expect 2024 to bring more good than bad.

The survey results were released on Thursday. The poll canvassed how people are feeling in the midst of stressors such as concerns over physical health, income worries, global warming, and international conflicts.

While many respondents feel more positive, 44 per cent, about 40 per cent feel indifferent, and the remaining seventeen per cent stated that 2024 would bring more bad than good.

The numbers showed that a more negative outlook was linked to a dissatisfaction with the previous year. Additionally, stress levels were higher amongst those between the age of 18 and 34, compared to older Canadians. Among the surveyed, 27 per cent of Canadians within that age group felt that their stress levels would be worse compared to 2023.

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“I think the people are reporting honestly on how they feel. I absolutely take that at their word. It’s a rational response to events (happening),” said Dan Bailis, a professor of psychology at the University of Manitoba. “Youth is the beautiful time of life. But survey after survey, in very different world conditions, you would still find that older adulthood is usually (a) happier (time) than younger adulthood.”

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While acknowledging there is generally an optimistic air with the start of a new year, Bailis noted that it’s understandable for people to be worried. As a psychologist, he added, the results can be viewed as a response to events in a person’s life or as a personality trait.

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“When we see that people are facing the future with more optimism, that definitely translates for me into better outcomes in health, better outcomes in happiness, better outcomes in goal pursuits of all kinds… even if you are in a situation that’s quite difficult, I still think that optimism helps,” said Bailis.

The professor said that optimism helps in navigating a challenge or difficult situation. Looking at the brighter side of things, while you go, can help a person avoid spinning out of control, he said.

Part of the survey noted that “younger Canadians appear to be feeling more pressure in their daily lives than older ones.” This it attributes to several reasons, one of which is finances. Twenty-three per cent of male respondents, aged 18 to 34, said they felt their personal financial situation would get worse this year. For female respondents within the age demographic, that number was 26 per cent.

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As a way to deal with the feelings of negativity, Bailis said it’s important to look at circumstances and situations that can be controlled and those that can’t.

“One of the things that I think is very important to focus on is that many of the underlying causes (of stress) are changeable, maybe not by you individually, but (are) definitely circumstances that are subject to change. That may not be the first think that comes to your mind,” said Bailis.

“In some of the ways that people are expressing they are not satisfied, you can read that as them feeling hopeless. But you can also read it as they’re expressing dissatisfaction because they want to see a change. They believe a change is possible.”

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Canadians feeling guarded optimism heading into 2023: poll

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