NEW YORK — Bad days are as much an American pastime as baseball and apple pie, a new study finds.
Researchers at Freeletics, a personal fitness and nutrition app, commissioned a poll of nearly 2,000 working Americans about how they dealt with stress, hoping to learn more about what constituted a “bad day.”
Respondents, on average, indicated that they had 60 bad days a year, with 80% of these 24-hour periods being made at least partially unpleasant by work-related stress.
However, sleep — or a lack thereof — was found to be the largest source of misery, accounting for 67 percent of an individual’s dissatisfaction on any given day.
Illness, financial worries, cancelled plans, and feeling unclean or disheveled also had the ability to ruin someone’s day, the researchers found. In fact, bad hair days were fairly prominent responses. One in four respondents indicated that frustration over uncooperative hair puts a damper on their day. Similarly, another quarter of respondents admitted that having no hot water for their morning shower left them in a day-long bad mood.
Meanwhile, a comparatively small percentage of respondents (8%) said that their day could feel wrecked by their favorite sports team losing a game.
Negative feelings, no matter how long they persist, can result in unhealthy behaviors, the researchers noted.
Half of respondents said that they were more likely to eat unhealthy foods after a tough day, and 34 percent said that they were more likely to drink alcohol.
According to the researchers, exercise may be the best way to deal with stress, as it provides both mental and physical benefits.
Workout frequency was positively correlated with one’s ability to cope with stress, the researchers added.
“These findings make a lot of sense, as working out after a tough day can be a very effective stress reliever, especially because it boosts those all-important endorphin levels,” explains John-Francis Kennedy, a personal trainer at Freeletics.
The numbers don’t lie: 95 percent of those surveyed said that a stressful day could be made less difficult by spending some time at the gym. Half of the respondents indicated that working out gives them more energy at the office, and 44% say exercise simply makes them feel more motivated.
Nevertheless, only a fifth of respondents said they had a gym membership, largely due to cost.
Life is complicated, and bad days are inevitable, but as this study shows, many Americans may be having the blues too often.