Everyone has bad, better, and good days; whether it's due to stressful deadlines, money woes, personal wellness or relationships, having bad days is simply a part of being human. While varying moods from day-to-day is expected, if you tallied up the number of bad days you actually have, the number might surprise you. A survey found how many bad days Americans have on average and it’s a lot more than you probably thought.
The research, which was shared with Bustle, was commissioned by the exercise and nutrition app Freeletics. 2,000 Americans were surveyed on not only how many bad days they experience annually, but also on the contributing factors to a bad day and stress. The survey found Americans reported experiencing 60 bad days per year, on average — which seems like a lot, given that it's a full two months of the year. Despite the findings, there isn’t necessarily a normal amount of “bad days”; everything from unexpected life events to personal health can alter your personal average amount of “bad days,” which are totally subjective experiences.
What causes “bad days” and added stress in the first place? The survey found 67 percent of survey participants reported that they felt not getting enough sleep was the biggest contributor to bad days. Sleeping poorly, or not getting the recommended amount of sleep based on your age, can be detrimental to both your physical and mental wellness. A lack of sleep can negatively impact your memory, stress hormone levels, appetite, cognitive functioning, and more. So, it is unsurprising that it topped the list of reasons for “bad days.”
Additionally, the Freeletics survey revealed feeling ill was another large contributing factor to bad days. Work-related stress and financial troubles rounded out the top reasons for bad days, according to the survey participants. Moreover, the researchers took a look at what events could ruin someone’s mood or day: 25 percent of Americans reported having a bad hair day or not having hot water in the shower has ruined their day before, and a whopping 34 percent of Americans said having plans canceled has ruined a entire day.
If your day is off to a rough start, exercising may be one way to make it a little less stressful. The research found 46 percent of people who work out two to three times a week reported exercise helped them decompress. For survey participants who exercised four to five times a week, the number jumped to 64 percent of people who felt less stressed. This is similar to the findings of a number of peer-reviewed studies that exercise helps combat stress, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
Exercising is a great stress reliever for some people, but it is not always the most accessible coping skill. For one, the survey revealed four out of five people surveyed don’t have a gym membership, because they are too expensive. Moreover, regularly hitting the gym may not always be practical for those with chronic health issues, who work multiple jobs, or other conflicting issues (that can all contribute to stress by themselves). If exercise isn’t an option for you, you can utilize other skills to release negative feelings, including journaling, breathing exercises, or talking it out with friends.
The survey's findings need to, like most research, be taken with a grain of salt: not everyone's standard for a bad day is the same, or even quantifiable in a systematized way. Additionally, the research that was shared with Bustle did not make its full methodology available, but that it was conducted by OnePoll, a market research firm, for Freeletics.
Though “bad days” and the accompanying stressors are not always avoidable, taking each day in stride and practicing self-care is a sure way to survive even the worst of days. The survey's findings may not be the most optimistic, but it doesn't have to determine your personal normal.