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April 1, 2022

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

Daily Briefing

    WalletHub on Monday released its annual list of the most- and least-stressed states in America, with Louisiana ranking as the most stressed and Utah ranking as the least stressed.

    Infographic: How to be a less-stressed leader


    To create the list, WalletHub assessed the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across four key dimensions:

    1. Work-related stress, including average hours worked per week, average commute, and income growth rate
    2. Money-related stress, including median income, debt per median earnings, and share of the population living in poverty
    3. Family-related stress, including cost of childcare, parental stress, and a "Parental-Leave Policy" score
    4. Health- and safety-related stress, including the share of adults in fair or poor health, quality of infrastructure, and the percentage of residents ages 12 and older who are fully vaccinated

    The four dimensions were evaluated using 41 relevant metrics, which were each graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest level of stress. WalletHub then determined each state's weighted average for all the metrics to create an overall score and ranking.

    The most- and least-stressed US states

    According to WalletHub, the most-stressed states are:

    1. Louisiana
    2. Nevada
    3. New Mexico
    4. West Virginia
    5. Mississippi
    6. Arkansas
    7. Oklahoma
    8. Alabama
    9. Texas
    10. Tennessee

    Meanwhile, the least-stressed states are:

    1. Utah
    2. Minnesota
    3. South Dakota
    4. Wisconsin
    5. New Hampshire
    6. Hawaii
    7. North Dakota
    8. Massachusetts
    9. Nebraska
    10. New Jersey


    Health-specific rankings

    WalletHub also identified states with the highest and lowest rates of adults in fair or poor health.

    The states with the highest rates of adults in fair or poor health are:

    1. West Virginia
    2. Kentucky
    3. Arkansas
    4. Louisiana
    5. Alabama

    Meanwhile, the states with the lowest rates of adults in fair or poor health are:

    1. Minnesota
    2. Colorado (tie)
    3. Nebraska (tie)
    4. Hawaii
    5. South Dakota

    How to reduce stress

    In its report, WalletHub asked a panel of experts several questions on stress and wellness, including how to address financial stress from the pandemic and how to reduce stress without spending money.

    Alisia (Giac-Thao) Tran, an associate professor of the counseling and counseling psychology program at Arizona State University, recommended people identify "stress-busting strategies" and use them when they are in stressful moments. These strategies include listening to the radio while in heavy traffic, practicing deep breathing before a nerve-wracking interview, and going outside when you are upset about something.

    In addition, Tran said it is useful to reduce overall stress—such as through having a good diet, getting exercise, and spending time with loved ones—so that you'll be "in a better mental and physical place to handle a stressful situation when it comes up."

    Lisa Hagermoser Sanetti, a professor in the department of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education, recommended people identify situations, places, people, and encounters that cause them stress and find out how they can either avoid or change these stressors. For example, if you spend too much time "doom scrolling" on social media, Hagermoser Sanetti recommends limiting your use of apps and other technology.

    And for stressors that are beyond your control, learning to recognize and control negative thinking patterns can help you cope with stress more easily. According to Hagermoser Sanetti, these thinking patterns often lead to exaggerated or distorted perceptions of situations, which make them seem more difficult or frustrating than they actually are.

    "As you become more aware of stressors and your common thinking patterns, you can start to interrupt those patterns and consider a more realistic way of thinking about the situation," she said. (Moya, USA Today, 3/29; McCann, WalletHub, 3/28)

    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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