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Americans would give up a paycheck, sex if it meant a stress-free day: poll

Three in four Americans would do “nearly anything” to have a single stress-free day.

A new poll of 2,000 Americans revealed one in 10 can’t even remember the last time they had a stress-free day.

When people feel stressed out, they avoid necessary tasks like doing laundry (20%), vacuuming (15%), and cleaning their homes (15%).

Many said they would pass on a week’s worth of productivity (30%), an entire paycheck (28%), and even sex (26%) if it meant having a stressless day.

The study, commissioned by Noom and conducted by OnePoll to shine a light on these topics ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, found that 83% believe everyone would benefit from taking their mental wellness more seriously.

While nearly as many (81%) said they’re satisfied with their current mental well-being, 65% have only given more thought to their personal well-being over the past two years.

Since the start of 2020, respondents were found to most likely experience stress (47%), separation from loved ones (39%), moving to a new community (38%), breakups (33%), burnout (32%), weight gain (29%), anxiety (29%), depression (25%), and loss of a loved one (22%).

Seventy-one percent of respondents would like to talk about their mental health.

After experiencing more people in their lives being open to sharing and talking about their mental health journeys, 66% have been inspired to take better care of their own mental well-being.

The survey revealed that mental health action is often triggered by the reaction or impact on others, not internal reflection. 

Of those who have made an effort to prioritize their mental health, the biggest motivating factors are considering how their mental health affects others (53%), seeing friends benefit from taking care of their mental well-being (51%), and speaking with close family members (46%).

Being stressed-out contributes to poor mental health.

Meanwhile, 24% of respondents said they feel no inspiration to take care of themselves. 

For those people, however, there are still a few things that would make them more seriously consider taking care of their mental health, such as experiencing a lack of functioning throughout the day (30%), having more digestible and reliable information about mental wellness (30%), and having a close family member or friend urge them to seek care (30%).

“Each of these motivators fall on a spectrum from intrinsic (guided by inherent satisfaction) to extrinsic (guided by an external reward),” said Andreas Michaelides, PhD., chief of psychology at Noom. “It takes a combination of different kinds of motivators in order to accomplish one’s goals, especially when it comes to changing health behaviors. It’s important to remember that motivation doesn’t need to come from just one source.”

When it comes to work benefits and making the decision to accept a new position, many said they prioritize an employer that offers health insurance (42%) and mental health benefits (33%).

Three in four people would do almost anything to be stress-free.
Three in four people would do almost anything to be stress-free.

More than half of Americans (58%) said they find it easier to recognize the status of their own mental state than they could with other people. Four in five (81%) regularly check in with themselves regarding their mental status.

In fact, 64% have had a moment of reflection on their mental well-being that made them feel compelled to start a mental wellness routine.

For 78%, it’s important to talk to someone they can trust when it comes to mental health. In this setting, nearly as many (71%) feel comfortable sharing their feelings on mental wellness.

Among the things that people would give up in order to be stress-free include sex and money.
Among the things that people would give up in order to be stress-free include sex and money.

“And this makes sense,” continued Michaelides. “It’s easier to maintain healthy habits you want if you can create an environment that supports them, surrounding yourself with people who have shared goals or who have normalized the kind of lifestyle you’re trying to maintain.”

If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, please seek out the advice of a medical professional.


  • Favorite meals/snacks – 45%
  • Chocolate – 43%
  • Shopping – 35%
  • Important meetings – 30%
  • A week’s worth of productivity – 30%
  • An entire paycheck – 28%
  • Exercise equipment – 28%
  • Sex – 26%
  • Moving deadlines at work – 23%
  • Instagram – 22% 
  • Plans with friends – 22%
  • TikTok – 20%
  • Technological devices – 19%