stressed out womanMy whole life I've been convinced the most stressful place to live is the city I'm living in. The 'burbs where I grew up were too cold too many months out of the year, Boston's public transportation is frustratingly slow, LA's traffic was a beast, and NYC is just OMG overwhelmingly crowded and dirty and rude. As it turns out, only one of the states I called home for a time made the current Gallup poll of five most stressful places to live in the U.S. 

The results were determined by asking over 350K people one simple question: “Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?” Yup, that's it! And based on their responses, here's what Gallup came up with as the five most hair-pulling, teeth-clenchingly stressful states ...

1. West Virginia

2. Rhode Island

3. Kentucky

4. Utah

5. Massachussetts

Bummer for those people! Especially West Virginia, Kentucky, and Utah, which have ranked in the top five consistently for the past five years. (Though it's hard to say why. Weird!)

Meanwhile, the most "relaxing" states by comparison ...

1. Hawaii

2. Louisiana

3. Mississippi

4. Iowa

5. Wyoming

Well, #1 is pretty much "duh." (Even more proof I'm positive my fiance isn't going to want to return to New Jersey after our honeymoon there next month ...) And thinking of how chilled out people must be on the bayou, cornfields, and mountains makes me long for more laidback environment!

As silly as it may seem, there really is something to this! Your surroundings -- and, of course, the local economy, social picture, population -- can very much influence our stress level. Which undoubtedly affects our well-being and health. It literally could pay to live somewhere serene. Watch out, Maui, we may be moving in!

Where does your state fall? Do you believe where you live influences your stress level and overall health?