One facet is the pursuit of natural hedonistic alternatives for work and play. Where Millennial and Gen X workers opt for amphetamine-laced performance boosters such as Adderall or micro doses of LSD, younger generations are exploring magic mushrooms as a means of enhancing productivity and creativity.
Having recently been proclaimed the safest recreational drug study, according to the Global Drug Survey, these natural mind-expanding alternatives speak to younger generations more so than their highly-synthetic, harmfully cut counterparts. In fact, they could be an aid for boosting mental wellbeing. ‘Recent trials of psilocybin, a close pharmacological cousin to LSD, have demonstrated that a single guided psychedelic session can alleviate depression when drugs like Prozac have failed,’ explains Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind.
But with daily lives that are overloaded with stimuli, the real and more accessible vacation from reality has driven a surge in spiritual practices. According to a recent NIH survey, the number of Americans aged 4-17 practicing yoga has more than doubled in the past five years, while those exploring meditation has grown from 0.6% to 5.4% of the population. As Gen Z Insights reports, this generation is entirely consumed with the concept that health equals happiness: ‘This doesn’t just mean jogging a couple of times a week and ordering the occasional salad; Gen Z consider their wellness as part of a larger holistic puzzle, encapsulating fitness, eating right, and mental health.’
Perhaps, then, it would be too puritanical to claim that hedonism has had its heyday. As Voltaire once said: ‘The pursuit of pleasure must be the goal of every rational person’. But tomorrow’s audiences are awakened to the fact that escapism needn’t come at the cost of personal health.
Health and wellness enterprises will of course reap the benefits of this new mindset, but what about brands selling health-impacting products such as alcohol, tobacco or confectionary? They may have been able to coast through thanks to older generations’ tendency to give into temptation, but for Generation Zen, it means overhauling their offers and finding new product pathways to non-damaging decadence.
For more on Gen Z’s evolving attitudes to health, wellness and hedonism, subscribers can explore our Anxiety Rebellion macro.