The majority of Americans find that taking small moments throughout the day is beneficial to their mental health, according to a new Cleveland Clinic survey.
Kia-Rai Prewitt, PhD, psychologist with Cleveland Clinic, said that isn’t overly surprising.
“You might look forward to maybe a longer workday or feel like you can sustain a longer workday if you are giving yourself these little breaks throughout the day,” she explained.
However, mental health breaks aren’t always feasible. The survey found about two-fifths of parents said they would like to take mental and emotional breaks but haven’t been able to find the time.
So, what can people do when they’re too busy?
“I think it’s looking at the time you do have and if it’s not a necessity or it’s not urgent in the moment and you know you need a break, I think just giving yourself permission and say you know I am going to go my bedroom for a minute and do some relaxation breathing, or I am going to ask another family member for help if that’s possible. I just need ten minutes to myself,” said Dr. Prewitt.
About three-fourths of those with strong mental health said socializing with others is beneficial for their mental and emotional health, compared to 53% of Americans with low mental health.
“When we think about our social connections, it’s not just about having fun and having all these positive experiences. If you have really good connections with other people, then you may feel more safe to be vulnerable with them as well,” she noted.
About half of those with strong mental health also said that exercise helps improve or maintain their mental health. Dr. Prewitt said it doesn’t have to be strenuous activity either.
“People oftentimes think of physical health or movement as running or jogging, or you’re running on a treadmill, but physical activity doesn’t have to be that heavy exertion. It can just be taking a leisurely walk somewhere or even stretching or doing yoga,” she said.
Dr. Prewitt said if you notice your mental health doesn’t seem to be improving with time, don’t be afraid to consult with a professional for further guidance.