Stress is, unfortunately, unavoidable. It's part of our everyday lives, in both small and large instances. However, some cities have more stress compared to others. Baltimore came in at No. 11 as one of the most stressed cities in the country.Stress can be either beneficial or detrimental. Certain types of stress can have a positive impact on one's well-being. However, when stress reaches unmanageable levels, that's when it can have negative effects on people's overall health and productivity. WalletHub recently released a study to determine where Americans deal with stress the best and where they fall a bit short. Baltimore made the list at No. 11, making it one of the most stressed cities in the country. The 150 most populated cities from across the United States were analyzed using various key metrics. The metrics were broken down into the following four categories: Work Stress, Financial Stress, Family Stress, and Health & Safety Stress. Each category is worth 25 points, with specific point breakdowns based on work hours, household income, divorce rates, physical-activity rates, etc. (Point breakdown listed below.) The total score is the result of those point breakdowns. At the No. 1 spot, the most stressed city is Newark, New Jersey, followed closely by Detroit, Michigan. Rounding out the list is Fremont, California, at No. 150, making it the least stressed city in America. Baltimore had an overall ranking of No. 11 and a total score of 51.12. It ranked at No. 13 for Work Stress, No. 18 for Financial Stress, No. 18 for Family Stress, and No. 56 for Health & Safety Stress.
Everyone copes with stress differently. We've decided to share our own methods of how to deal with those stressful moments in life. And, hopefully, you'll be able to use these in your day-to-day lives, no matter how big or small the stress is. The Centre for Studies of Human Stress (CSHS) also lists some fantastic coping strategies for stress management. Before we dive in, it's important to remember that not all of these techniques work for everyone. We're all unique individuals and require different methods to managing our stress. What works for you, may not work for someone else. And that's okay.
Learn to Identify Your StressorsOne of the first things to do when coping with stress is learning what caused the stress. From there, you can develop a game plan of how to best manage your stress. MentalHelp.net goes into detail about two types of stressors: Eustress and Distress. Eustress is positive stress, while distress is negative stress. Positive (Eustress) Personal Stressors:
- Promotion or raise at work
- Starting a new job
- Having children
- Buying a home/moving
- Death of a spouse or family member
- Bankruptcy/Other financial problems
- Hospitalization (oneself or family member)
- Injury/illness (oneself or family member)
- Sleep problems
Practice Deep BreathingDeep breathing can help the body calm itself down. When life throws stress curveballs your way, it can feel like it's coming at you 100 miles an hour. By deep breathing, you're able to stop and simply focus on your breathing. It's a voluntary process to deep breathe, when breathing is typically an involuntary process (sympathetic nervous system) that we don't think about. It happens naturally. According to Psych Central,
Chronic stress can lead to a restriction of the connective and muscular tissue in the chest resulting in a decrease range of motion of the chest wall. Due to rapid more shallow breathing, the chest does not expand as much as it would with slower deeper breaths."
Take up Yoga or MeditationBoth have many benefits not only for one's overall physical health, but mental health, too. Yoga helps relieve tension and stress in both the body and mind, ultimately making you more resilient when those stressors come along. DoYouYoga.com has some fantastic poses that can help you take control and manage your stress. Meditation, according to WebMD.com, is "the practice of focusing your attention to help you feel calm." The site discusses what occurs to our bodies when we are exposed to sudden stress or threat, also known as the "fight or flight" response. Mediation is geared toward relaxing that response by placing our bodies in a state of deep relaxation. By continuously training our bodies to meet this state of relaxation, it can lead to lower blood pressure, improved digestion, reduction of stress, and an enhanced mood.
Avoid Turning to Toxic Coping MethodsAlcohol is one of the big ways many folks deal with stress, and while it can help them temporarily forget the issues, it doesn't solve them. I'll be honest, I've been guilty of drinking a beer or two after work to help release some of the stress from the day, but it's not going to solve or help me cope with that stress. In fact, drinking can do more harm than good, especially when you're stressed. Other people try to eat the stress away. According to a study, "food is an inexpensive resource for providing reward ... offering short term pleasure and relief from discomfort, negative reinforcement and distress may motivate stress-related eating as a way to regulate stress responses." While it can help to temporarily relieve the stress, it's not going to solve it.
Were you surprised by the results of WalletHub's study about the cities and where Baltimore ranked? Also, are there any coping strategies we missed in our list that you find helps you deal with stress? Share them with us in the comments below.