If you live here, you are probably the most stressed

Feeling stressed? You’re not alone – especially if you live in the South.

States like Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Oklahoma were recently found to be some of the most stressed states in the US, according to a new study.

Personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states across more than 40 metrics to determine which states are the most stressed and others where life is a bit more relaxed. Metrics included how many hours on average workers work per week, length of commute, amount of leisure time, job security and unemployment numbers.

The study determined Louisiana as the state most stressed in part of workers having one of the most packed work schedules. It was also determined that Louisiana’s ranking was influenced by the state having one of the highest percentages of the population living in poverty in the US.

Mississippi ranked second on the list and led the country for money-related stress. New Mexico, Arkansas, and West Virginia rounded out the top five.

However, not all states are feeling as stressed as others.

Minnesota ranked as the least stressed state after having low rankings for stresses pertaining to money, family, and health and safety. North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Utah also ranked as some of the least stressed states in the US.

Jasmeet Hayes, assistant professor at the Ohio State University, said managing stress starts with making a plan that can center around a daily schedule with self-care activities. She offered these tips for managing stress without turning to your wallet:

  • Stay connected with others through video chats, texts. Positive interactions with friends and family is an essential way to manage stress. Social media is great for connecting, but turn it off if you start feeling anxious/stressed from negative posts. Too much social media can also take time away from self-care activities.
  • Practice gratitude. Write down 3 things each day that you are grateful for.
  • Take time for physical activity, at least 30 minutes a day. Go outside for a walk, watch streaming video for exercises that you can do in your home, etc. We know from decades of research that physical activity can improve mental health.
  • Engage in deep breathing. Practice breathing deeply, focusing on expanding your belly in and out for 2 minutes. Do this throughout the day to refresh your mind.
  • Try doing positive self-talk. Say to yourself throughout the day “I am strong”, “I am proud of myself for trying”, “I can get through this”.
  • Try to eat healthy and prep fresh, non-processed food.
  • Get enough sleep, but not too much — aim for 7-9 hours.