Eat, exercise, cry: How do Americans beat the blues and let off steam?
June 20th, 2024, Lesley Simeon

Eat, exercise, cry: How do Americans beat the blues and let off steam?

Half-done to-do lists, a bad day at work, awkward chats or the 3 am existential dread. There are plenty of situations that push us to hit pause. In this piece, we see how American men and women do exactly that - let off steam.

Data from YouGov Profiles, which covers demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural consumer metrics, reveals that taking a walk is the top choice of respondents (45%) when they need to let off steam. Leaving the situation for somewhere quiet (42%) and talking to someone (42%) are tied at second place.

Notable proportions of Americans prefer other forms of physical activity - more than a quarter (26%) exercise and less than a quarter (22%) clean something. Speaking of exercise, over one in ten (11%) of those surveyed take to yoga or meditation to de-stress.

Also read: International Yoga Day: What do Americans think when they hear 'yoga'?

Then we have those who believe in letting it all out (quite literally) - 21% of respondents cry and one in ten (10%) scream when things get overwhelming.

YouGov Profile’s demographic data about how Americans choose to let out stream reveals some interesting insights.

More women than men ( 23% vs. 18%) eat or cook something to let off steam but men are a little more likely than women (14% vs. 10%) to turn to an alcoholic drink. The ‘men don’t cry’ cultural stereotype continues to look relevant as data reveals a stark difference between the genders using crying to let out steam. Where a third of the women (33%) cry it out, in comparison only 9% of men say they do.

Similar proportions of men (8%) and women (7%) would turn to medication to help process their emotions.

More than three in ten (31%) women take to cleaning, to cool down - so do 12% of all men polled. Women are also more likely than men to talk it out with someone (46% vs.38%), go shopping (17% vs. 8%) or get creative with their cooling down tactics, doing something like crafting (14% vs. 7%).

Notably, nearly half of all American men believe it’s important to talk about mental health, as we see in an earlier piece which talks about American men’s mental health habits and attitudes.

Between men and women, figures for those who hit something to de-stress (9% of men, 6% of women) or go partying (5% of men, 3% of women) are also different.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels