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March 31, 2021

The most (and least) stressed states in America, according to WalletHub

Daily Briefing

    WalletHub on Monday released its annual list of the most stressed-out states in America, with Nevada ranking as the most stressed state and South Dakota ranking as the least stressed.

    Resilience: Not just a pandemic buzzword—and not the same as engagement


    To create the list, WalletHub assessed all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 41 relevant metrics across four categories:

    • Work-related stress, including average hours worked per week, average commute, and income growth rate;
    • Money-related stress, including personal bankruptcy rates, median income, and housing affordability;
    • Family-related stress, including cost of child care, share of single parents, and parental-leave policy score; and
    • Health and safety-related stress, including a score based on WalletHub's "States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions," a new metric added to this year's list, as well as share of adults in fair or poor health, and share of adults diagnosed with depression.

    WalletHub graded states on each metric on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest level of stress. Researchers then calculated a weighted average across all metrics to determine each state's overall score and ranking.

    The most and least stressed states in the country

    The most-stressed states, according to WalletHub, are:

    1. Nevada;
    2. Louisiana;
    3. New Mexico;
    4. West Virginia;
    5. Mississippi;
    6. Oklahoma;
    7. Tennessee;
    8. California;
    9. Kentucky; and
    10. Texas.

    Meanwhile, the least-stressed states, according to WalletHub, are:

    1. South Dakota;
    2. Utah;
    3. Minnesota;
    4. Iowa;
    5. North Dakota;
    6. Wisconsin;
    7. Nebraska;
    8. New Hampshire;
    9. Montana; and
    10. Kansas.

    Health-specific rankings

    WalletHub also identified the states with the highest rates of adults in fair or poor health, finding that the percentage of such adults is highest in:

    1. West Virginia;
    2. Arkansas;
    3. Kentucky;
    4. Mississippi; and
    5. Louisiana.

    The lowest rates of adults in fair or poor health were in:

    1. Vermont;
    2. Minnesota;
    3. Massachusetts;
    4. North Dakota;
    5. Iowa; and
    6. Colorado.

    How to reduce stress

    In the report, WalletHub asked a panel of six experts several questions on stress and wellness, including how to "address the financial stress caused by the pandemic" and how to combat stress without spending money.

    In response, one experts, Elizabeth Bachen, a professor of psychology and director of the Mills Laboratory of Psychology and Health at Mills College, said that "[s]ome of the most effective strategies to reduce stress cost little to no money." For instance, she recommended taking walks or doing other forms of exercise, as these "reduce stress hormones and the fight or flight response that over the long-term can affect our ability to think clearly, problem-solve, and feel positive."

    Sonya Lutter, professor of applied human sciences at Kansas State University's college of health and human sciences, recommended taking a vacation, if possible. "Spend a day away from work-related responsibilities and away from the computer screen to consider what brings you joy," she said.

    Beth Trammell, associate professor of psychology at Indiana University East, added that "eliminating stress-invoking situations" can be helpful as well. For example, you could stay off of social media for a week, Trammell said, and instead spend time doing something else you like. "Increasing joy, and things that invigorate us, is the best way to decrease stress," she said (McCann, WalletHub, 3/29).

    Resilience: Not just a pandemic buzzword—and not the same as engagement

    Listen to the Radio Advisory episode

    Radio Advisory, a podcast for busy health care leaders.The Covid-19 epidemic has put a nearly inconceivable amount of stress on the health care workforce over the past year, so how do health care leaders help develop a culture of resilience among their staff? In this episode, Rae Woods sits down with Advisory Board's Katherine Virkstis and Anne Herleth to talk about what resilience actually means and how providers should change their approach to resilience amid the Covid-19 epidemic.

    Listen now

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