Summary: Up to 46% of Americans help manage their mental health and reduce anxiety by taking 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day to focus on mindfulness.
Source: Cleveland Clinic
Americans are discovering new ways to prioritize and improve their mental health. Many find that taking a “small bite” approach has a huge impact.
According to a new Healthy Now 2022 survey commissioned by Parade Media and Cleveland Clinic, 46% of Americans were able to maintain or improve their mental/emotional health by taking multiple 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day for activities that relieve stress. stress. , depression and/or anxiety.
Americans find these “times” more feasible and effective than longer periods of mental health-boosting activities. In fact, seven in 10 (70%) Americans think taking these shorter breaks throughout the day is more beneficial for maintaining and improving their mental well-being than taking a 30-60 minute break.
“Everyone knows the concept of ‘mental health day,’ but our survey suggests that a few minutes of time set aside each day to relax and recharge can make a real difference,” says Lisa Delaney, Senior Vice President / Chief Content Officer of Parade Media. Officer.
“It’s a way to break down practices that help benefit a fundamental element of well-being into ‘munchieable’ moments that fit more easily into our busy lives.”
Top Activities of Mentally/Emotionally Healthy People Revealed
While the fact that nearly half of Americans are taking this approach is a positive, the survey reveals that many more continue to struggle with their mental health. More than a third (37%) of all respondents rate their current mental health as fair or poor.
Significant percentages of Americans said they had experienced anxiety (45%), sadness and depression (36%), and anger (34%) at least once a week during the last month.
Importantly, the survey found that many Americans who rated their mental health as poor do not engage in well-researched activities that have been shown to improve mental health. Less than half exercise regularly (37%) or spend time outdoors (37%), compared to 52% and 46% of those who rate their mental health as good.
Those with good mental health also believe that getting enough sleep (87%), moving (76%) and socializing with others (71%) are beneficial to their mental/emotional health.
“Just taking a 5-minute walk around the block provides both exercise and time outdoors to clear your head and recharge for the rest of the day,” Kia-Rai Prewitt, Ph.D., psychologist at the Center for Adult Behavioral at the Cleveland Clinic. Health. “Even so, don’t be discouraged if you have to skip it once in a while. Incorporating them into your daily routine is a marathon, not a sprint.
Mothers struggling with the most mental health issues
Why don’t Americans incorporate these beneficial breaks into their daily routine more often? Survey respondents who rarely or never engage in activities that support their mental health cite being too busy (34%) and caring for a loved one (36%) as barriers. Almost a quarter (24%) of these respondents say they simply don’t know how to support their mental health.
The study shows that certain segments of Americans are more affected by these barriers. For example, the survey indicates that one in three mothers (32%) never or rarely2 spend time improving or maintaining their mental/emotional health, despite reporting lower levels of mental health than fathers .
Almost half of mothers (43%) rate their mental health as fair or poor, compared to 26% of fathers who said the same. Similarly, 17% of mothers say their mental health is “excellent,” compared to 33% of fathers who say the same.
The survey also revealed these additional findings:
- Sex is rejuvenating for men; not so much for women. Men are more likely to find sex refreshing after a long day (54%) than women (36%). When it comes to fathers and mothers, this gap widens, with 65% of fathers finding sex rejuvenating, compared to 44% of mothers. Women say they are likely to find more solitary activities to be restorative, such as reading a good book (63%) or lighting a candle (48%).
- Working can have a positive impact on your mental health. Despite the demands of balancing work outside the home and parenthood, working parents report higher levels of mental/emotional health than nonworking parents. About seven in 10 (69%) working parents rate their mental/emotional health as good, compared to 55% of non-working parents. Additionally, working parents are more likely to feel happy, fulfilled, refreshed, and productive each week.
- …but work has an emotional impact. Although happier, working parents also report higher levels of exhaustion (65%) and anger (42%) at least once a week, compared to non-working parents, 52% and 31%, respectively.
- Investing in employee mental health pays off. About half (53%) of those with good mental health said their employer considered mental health days to be part of the PTO, compared to 32% of those with poor mental health.
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