It's no surprise to hear that Americans are stressed out. Between heavy workloads, long hours, fear (or in many cases, the reality) of job loss, overscheduling, economic instability, high rates of gun violence, and other unique complications of life, stress has become a constant in the lives of many Americans. But is it possible that the State you live in is a significant contributor to some of that stress?
According to Chris Kolmar, blogger for Movoto, the answer is yes. Movoto used data from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey for 2008 through 2012 to select six criteria that they believe reflects the root causes of stress for most people (not perfectly scientific, but we'll go with it). They looked at:
- Percentage of population with a long commute (over 20 minutes)
- Hours worked
- Population density
- Percentage of income spent on housing
- Percentage of population without health insurance
Kolmar says they ranked each of the lower 48 states "from 1 to 48 (with one being the most stressed side of the scale) in the six individual criteria. These ranks were then averaged into one Big Deal Score, the lowest of which was the most stressed out state in America."
Here's what their analysis revealed:
1. Florida. If you have the fortune (or maybe the misfortune, according to Movoto's analysis) of living in the sunny State of Florida, you top the list! As a result of high unemployment rates, long commutes, long work hours, housing costs, and lack of health insurance, Floridians have the lion's share of stress in America.
The rest of the states on the top 10 list include:
3. New Jersey
7. New York
9. North Carolina
The least stressed out State? North Dakota, which scored low in every category except average hours worked. To review the rankings for each state, click here. For the full article, click here.
As a resident of Florida, I wasn't surprised about the results. We do have high unemployment, ridiculous traffic jams, long commutes, high housing costs, etc. However, for those who make stress reduction a priority in their lives, Florida also has some of the most beautiful, relaxing, stress-free places on Earth, usually within a short drive (if not walk) for most people.
The bottom line is that we all have stress in our lives. The key is implementing strategies into your daily routine to minimize that stress. In fact, that's what I write about here at Psychology Today. So if you're interested in learning ways to reduce stress in your life, here are a few articles to check out:
Three Uncommon Strategies to Manage Stress
Fun Ways to Manage Stress without Breaking the Bank
Six Myths About Stress
Quick and Easy Stress Busters for 10 of the Most Common Stressors
© 2014 Sherrie Bourg Carter, All Rights Reserved
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Sherrie Bourg Carter is the author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout
(Prometheus Books, 2011).