How Stressed is Your City? New Study Finds Out

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Do you live in Los Angeles? It's likely that you're more stressed than residents of other cities in the US, according to an American Psychological Association survey. The The annual Stress in America study was conducted online by Harris Interactive in August of this year, and focused on eight US cities: Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC. It asked adults about the main causes of stress in their lives, and enquired whether they had any stress-related health problems.

The APA study found that stress levels in Denver, New York, Detroit, Seattle, Washington DC and Atlanta were lower as compared to last year. Stress in Los Angeles and Chicago increased. More than 70% of Chicago residents said work, money and the economy were significant causes of worry for them. Citizens of Los Angeles worried about their health: fewer LA residents said they were in good or excellent health than residents of any other city.

Even in the less-stressed cities, stress-related ailments were on the rise. In Seattle, 36% of citizens reported that they were diagnosed with high blood pressure, versus 26% in 2009. 31% of Seattle residents said they had high cholesterol, as compared to 2009, in which 28% reported they'd been diagnosed with this ailment.

New York was the only surveyed city in which more than 50% of residents reported they exercised to manage stress: 62% of New Yorkers walked or exercised, as compared to 48% nationally, and 13% of New Yorkers meditated or did yoga, whereas 7% of the national surveyed population used yoga and meditation to relieve stress.

Is there an end in sight? It doesn't appear so. One press release from the APA study states that "Americans appear to be caught in a vicious cycle where they manage stress in unhealthy ways, and lack of willpower and time constraints impede their ability to make lifestyle or behavioral changes."