Residents of Arizona are among the most stressed out people in the country, at least according to the results of a recent study that measured multiple causes of stress.
The study, released by the real estate website Movoto Blog, found Arizona to be among the top 10 most stressed-out states in the U.S. In efforts to find out which state has the highest anxiety, six different criteria were considered: the percentages of the population with a 20-minute or more commute time to and from work; a state’s unemployment rate; average of hours worked in a week; population density; percentage of income spent on housing; and percentage of the population without health insurance.
According to the study, all data found for each state was pulled from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey for 2008-2012, and the study then ranked each state from 1 to 48 (with one being the most stressed side of the scale) in the six categories. The study did not include Alaska or Hawaii
The rankings were then averaged into a single score, with the lowest-ranked state being the most stressed out in the country.
According to the study, 57.7 percent of Arizona’s commuters spent at least 20 minutes traveling to work and 20.4 percent of the state’s population did not have health insurance — giving the Grand Canyon State the 11th-worst ranking in both categories. An unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, which was the nation’s 12th-worst ranking, and the state’s percentage of income spent on housing — 21.7 percent, which was 15th-worst, also contributed to Arizona’s high stress levels. The state finished in the middle of the pack in the remaining two criteria.
Florida topped the study as America’s most-stressed state, followed by Georgia, New Jersey and California. North Dakota was ranked as the least-stressed state.
Deb Powers, activities director for the Ahwatukee Recreation Center (ARC), said her stress levels sometimes would arise from her workload. Her responsibilities at the center consist of being responsible for all functions relating to the recreational activities of the ARC such as scheduling events, speakers, room rental management, website content, publicity management, monthly newsletter and community relations.
“Thankfully, I enjoy working at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center, and the everyday stress is minimal,” she said. “However, there are times where stress can arise, especially when deadlines need to be met. I do my best to stick to them and not bring that stress home with me.”
Powers said that keeping stress from work at a low was important toward continuing forward in a positive direction.
“We all have stress in our lives, but you have to learn to manage it well, have a positive outlook and a great sense of humor,” she said.
Sharon Kidder, an eighth-grade teacher at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School, said her commute time to and from work could be stressful at times.
It takes Kidder nearly 25 to 30 minutes to get to work on a good day without any accidents on the road or traffic stops.
Kidder said one of the longest commute times she had going to work was more than two hours because of an accident.
Although commuting can be stressful at times, Kidder tries to occupy her time while in traffic by listening to different audio books and news radio and planning out her next work day so she can have time to spend with her family.
“I try to make that time as effective to me as possible, or it gives me some down time,” Kidder said. “It is how you choose to use that time. When there’s accidents, it gets upsetting, but you have to really work at your state of mind.”
On a given week, Kidder works anywhere between 40 to 50 hours, which adds to her stress.
“If anyone tells you that teaching isn’t stressful they’re crazy,” she said. “Hours worked add to the stress, but teaching is stressful in and of itself … if you’re committed to it and passionate about it, you’re going to put in long days during the school year.”
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