Mindfulness for Mental Health Month
With May being Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to take a look at some mindfulness trends that have changed since 2021. We’ve seen more Americans participating in mindfulness activities over the course of the pandemic. However, life is much different now than it was just one year ago, so we wondered how Americans may have adapted their mindfulness practices as social life has become a bit more normal.
So, how has mindfulness changed in the past year?
With State of Our Health’s constant and consistent data collection, we can see how Americans utilize mindfulness amid a period of rapid change.
Mindfulness continues to rise
Mindfulness continues to grow in popularity even as life is beginning to feel more normal. For research purposes, we define engagement with mindfulness as those who report meditating, doing yoga for mindfulness, tracking mindfulness with an app, journaling, or doing a gratitude ritual at least weekly.
That past year’s growth in mindfulness engagement is highest among men, Millennials, and Gen X. Compared to last year, more are looking for guidance by taking mindfulness classes or workshops, meeting with professionals, and using mindfulness apps. Since men and younger consumers are especially likely to engage in these forms of mindfulness practice, it’s likely that some of these newbies are the ones looking for guidance.
How does mindfulness differ by gender?
Mindfulness often looks different for men vs women. Men who practice mindfulness tend to be younger, while women practicing mindfulness tend to be older. Men’s mindfulness practices more often include taking classes, meeting with professionals like therapists or life coaches, and using mindfulness apps, a much more guided approach to mindfulness. Women, however, are more likely to turn to religious practices like prayer and meditation, journaling, and creating gratitude lists, all of which are often more self-guided.
Women also attribute many more benefits to mindfulness than men, while men are more likely to report using mindfulness as an alternative to therapy. Men are also more likely to say that mindfulness positively impacts their eating and exercise. Since more men are relatively new to mindfulness this year, they may still be unsure about its benefits.
Mindfulness routines are harder to establish in 2022
Compared to last year, more are having trouble finding time in their day for mindfulness, which could be because so many are new to it, but could also go alongside more active schedules. Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to struggle with mindfulness. They have trouble finding time in their day for it, but also are more likely to state that they haven’t found a mindfulness practice that works well for them. Millennials are also the most skeptical about mindfulness practices doing what others say it will do, despite high rates of participation.
Mindfulness is good for business
Mindfulness has positive benefits not just for practitioners, but also for health-focused food and beverage brands and the fitness industry, as well as employers generally. Consumers engaged with mindfulness invest more time, money, and energy in other areas of their health, including spending more on fitness and active nutrition categories. Mindfulness also improves practitioners’ mental health, allowing them to focus on other priorities. Businesses can encourage these good habits by helping both consumers and their employees find the time, space, and guidance they need to develop a consistent practice.