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Stressed? It Might Be Time To Move

Is stress a reason to move? The answer might surprise you.

Everyone feels stressed now and then, but if stress has become a normal part of daily living, it might be time for some life changes. Moving to a different area may be just what you need to steer clear of stress for good.

Urban vs. Rural Living

Generally speaking, rural life is less stressful than urban living, according to a 2012 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Researchers who conducted the study say rural residents are less stressed, suffer less respiratory disease, have lower cancer death rates and report a greater sense of community belonging than urban dwellers. However, despite feeling less stressed, rural residents actually had lower life expectancies.

Factors Leading to Stress

Several factors (regardless of where you’re living) can lead to unwanted stress, boosting your risk for poor mental health. These include traffic noise, poverty, social isolation, and social discrimination, according to a 2017 study published in Deutsches Arzteblatt International. Other things that can boost stress in your life include your job, city crowds, long commutes, and congested traffic. Stressors often occur in busy big cities, but social isolation and poverty can cause you grief regardless of where you’re living.

Stress in Children

Kids can feel stress from parents, and stress-related parent absence in kids’ lives can take a toll on mental health. A study published in 2016 in Schizophrenia Bulletin found that children living in urban areas have more psychotic symptoms due to low social cohesion and crime victimization in their neighborhoods. The healthiest place for kids to live is a low-stress environment, where parents and community members are positive influences.

Green Space and Stress

Whether you’re living in an urban or rural area, having access to green space is beneficial when you’re feeling stressed or down in the dumps. A 2015 study published in Risk Management and Healthcare Policy found associations between green spaces and health benefits like increased physical activity, lower stress levels, and increased social contact. Researchers who conducted the study say the implantation of one urban green space led to reductions in vandalism and gun crime, causing lower stress levels in residents.

Does Moving Lower Stress?

Finding stressors in your life is the key to living a happier, more fulfilling and longer life. Moving isn’t always a cure for a stressful lifestyle, but it can help in many cases. If you’re unhappy with your job, moving for a new career might be just the change you need. If traffic congestion, cold weather, or lack of green space has you feeling blue, change up your scenery by moving to the suburb or choosing a warmer climate.

Happiest U.S. States

If stress and depression are getting to you, consider moving to one of the happiest U.S. states. According to a 2013 study published in Plos One, the five happiest U.S. states (based on social media posts) are Maine, Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, and Vermont — while the five saddest states include Maryland, Louisiana, Delaware, Mississippi and Georgia. Researchers concluded that the happiest U.S. city is Napa, CA, and the saddest is Beaumont, TX.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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