D.C. ranks among the most stressed places in the nation, according to a new report. (Courtesy of Houston Defender)
D.C. ranks among the most stressed places in the nation, according to a new report. (Courtesy of Houston Defender)

Wanna get away?

That’s the age-old — and commercialized — feeling that many District residents might just be experiencing.

The nation’s capital ranks among the most-stressed locations in the country, according to D.C.-based personal finance website WalletHub.

Ranking 12th overall, just behind Georgia and just ahead of Alaska, the District rates as third-worst in work-related stress and fourth-worst in family-related stress.

The District ranked fifth in the number of hours worked per week, second in least-affordable housing, and first in both crime rate per capita and divorce rate.

“Financial stress can be burdensome and produces a sense of loss of control,” said WalletHub expert Camilla W. Nonterah, an assistant professor of healthy psychology at the University of Richmond. “Creating a plan can help alleviate some of the stress over finances and facilitate problem solving.”

Nonterah said it’s important to note that most individuals already practice stress management, including listening to music, exercising, going for a walk, meditating, being in nature, engaging in a hobby such as gardening, or by spending time with pets and loved ones.

Unfortunately, during periods of stress, many often forget techniques that have worked well in the past and don’t use them because of the pressure they’re currently experiencing, Nonterah said.

There’s a fundamental factor that protects individuals and families from all manners of stresses, and it involves the relationships they have with others which some call their social network, said fellow WalletHub expert Jay A. Mancini, professor emeritus of human development at Virginia Tech and an adjunct professor of human development and family science at the University of Georgia.

“Even as relationships can cause us various concerns, it’s our relationships with others that often lifts us from becoming discouraged and feeling hopeless,” Mancini said. “In fact, it is often these relationships with others, which could be family members, friends, work associates and neighbors, that help us to feel hopeful.”

The study, which arrives during Stress Awareness Month, notes that American stress levels have been on the rise for two years.

To determine the states with the highest stress levels, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District across various key metrics. The data ranged from average hours worked per week to personal bankruptcy rate to share of adults getting adequate sleep.

The top 10 most stressed states, in order, are Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia, Mississippi, Nevada, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Arizona and Georgia followed at 11 and 12, ahead of the District.

Minnesota ranked as the least-stressed state, followed by North Dakota, Utah, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Nebraska.

Maryland ranked 37th overall while Virginia held the 33rd spot.

Maryland ranked 18th for work-related stress while Virginia came in at 16.

“Stress is a universal experience, everyone experiences it, it’s normal and has been viewed as a necessary part of life,” said WalletHub expert Velma McBride Murry, a professor and Lois Autrey Betts Chair in the department of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University. “It’s any noticeable change that occurs in our life that sends a signal that something isn’t quite right.”

Numerous strategies that could be used to combat stress, Murry said.

“Having someone to talk with and be affirmed can reduce anxiety, create a sense of calm, promote psychological well-being, and help individuals respond better to stress,” she said.

To view the full report, go to wallethub.com.

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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