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How Stress Has Impacted These 10 US Cities

Welcome to my regular cadence of blog posts where we talk about—you guessed it—stress. This past year, we’ve been talking about it A LOT. If that’s not the understatement of the century, then I don’t know what is. Oh, and ICYMI April was Stress Awareness Month—and even though that month is over that doesn’t mean our “awareness” of the stress in our lives just magically disappears. Ask me how I know. In fact, I was stressed even thinking of a title for this piece. STRESS IS REAL PEOPLE. 

With 67% of adults reporting their stress levels have skyrocketed over this past year, odds are you’ve probably been plagued by this unfortunate feeling quite a bit. In fact, it’s been so overwhelmingly apparent that stress plays a big role in most of our day-to-day lives that it was a major component of the 2021 Mindbody Wellness Index. This year, the survey set out to understand who has been affected the most by surveying the 50 most populous cities in the US.  

If you see your city on this list, please know that you are not alone and there are many ways to combat stress—like chilling out in a yoga class, venting in your journal, and leaning on your bestie for advice. Heck—we even have a guide to help you learn how to keep your chill.  

So, without further ado, here are the most stressed-out cities in the US according to our Mindbody Wellness Index.  

1. Oakland, CA  

I hate to break it to you, Oaklanders—but you topped our list as the most-stressed city in the US. But you all aren’t just succumbing to pressure—you also said you’re making a solid effort to get your health and wellness back on track. Out of all the cities on this list, you had the highest number of people who used meditation as a stress reducer during the pandemic (30%).  

Now that we’re starting to get back to some form of normalcy, might I suggest taking a stroll around your neighborhood and appreciating the sizable gnome population as an instant mood-booster?  

2. Minneapolis, MN 

Coming in at number two is Minneapolis. Unfortunately, 61% of you reported feeling an abundance of stress during the pandemic. However, like Oakland, you’re also making some serious strides to decrease your stress by leaning into your fitness routines. How are you doing this? By focusing on weight and strength training, partaking in cardio, and practicing yoga.  

Minneapolis—if you’re ever feeling stressed, just remember that your city is home to one of the greatest musicians of all time—Prince. So go ahead and “Party Like it’s 1999” whenever you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

3. Oklahoma City, OK  

Next up is Oklahoma City.  While you experience a great deal of stress, you’re also making some serious moves to increase happiness and wellness with 63% of you exercising once a week or more. However, you also had the smallest percentage of folks putting more focus on health and wellness throughout the past year. 

Here’s a fun fact that may just put a smile on your face—Oklahoma City recently adopted the nickname “The Big Friendly.”  

4. El Paso, TX 

El Paso does sit pretty high up on this list in the number four spot. Y’all may want to pay special attention to catching some z’s each night since you had the highest percentage of folks lacking in the sleep department—which is a major contributor to stress. On top of that, you also said you feel the least connected to their community among the 50 cities surveyed. 

There’s nothing that a giant dose of Vitamin D can’t fix (at least that’s what my doctor says)—so get outside and enjoy the 302 days of sunshine that your city has to offer! 

5. Los Angeles, CA 

Ahhh the City of Angels. According to our survey, you came in as the fifth most-stressed city. But in true LA fashion you are using healthy coping mechanisms to regain a peaceful state of mind—almost 80% of you exercise once a week or more. Also, literally like none of you smoke which can also help you find balance.  

There are a lot of fun facts about your city, but I decided to hit with a funny fact instead. Did you know that Charlie Sheen once bought 2,615 outfield seats at Angels Stadium so he could catch a home run ball? And guess what—he walked out empty-handed.  

6. Tulsa, OK 

Unlike LA, Tulsa has the most smokers out of all the cities on this list. You also don’t make exercise a top priority with your city ranking third to last in exercising consistently and second to last in getting a good night’s sleep.  

Mmmbop...sorry for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day—but we have your city to thank for the Hanson brothers. Also, does anybody else think they are the Russian Dolls on this season of The Masked Singer, or is that just me?  

7. New Orleans, LA 

To say your city has been through a lot over the years would be an understatement. This year, we also learned you were in the bottom ten for having close relationships with family and friends—which isn’t surprising given the fact that we were all forced to shelter-in-place for the majority of the year.  Hopefully, as fitness studios and wellness businesses start to welcome more and more people back, the stress you are all experiencing will quickly dissipate.  

With vaccines becoming more available to the general public, happy hours are a thing again! Get together with some of your friends and (responsibly) enjoy some  iconic drinks your city has to offer.  

8. Miami, FL 

Though your city made this list for experiencing high stress, you also topped the list for several wellness practices. In fact, 86% of you say you get a good workout sesh in once a week or more. On top of that, you were quick to take advantage of virtual fitness classes, with 75% of you saying you regularly work out from home. You are also the number one city to receive massages, partake in strength training group classes, aerobics, and dance fitness classes.  

I think we can all agree that any demonstration of girl power is something to be happy about. Did you know that your city is the only major US city to be founded by a woman? It’s true—Miami officially became a city in 1896 after local businesswoman Julia Tuttle encouraged one railroad mogul to expand into the area. 

9. Altana, GA 

Seventy-one percent of you turned to health and wellness when the pandemic made our daily routines come to a screeching halt. You stepped up by taking advantage of health and life coaching the most out of any other city and you also came in second for using meditation to de-stress during the pandemic. 

Hi—it’s me again here to hit you with not one but TWO funny facts about Atlanta. Did you know that it was once illegal to put an ice cream cone in your back pocket? Oh, and it’s also illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. Umm what. 

10. Denver, CO 

Denver—you may have made this list, but you’re straight up flexing to help combat stress. In fact, you top the list when it comes to incorporating weight and strength training into your workout routines. On top of that, 20% of you are also tapping into a blissful state of mind by practicing yoga regularly.  

As Matthew McConaughey once cleverly said, the "man who invented the hamburger was smart," but the "man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius." Well, Denver, that genius just happens to be from your city. Louis Ballast began selling them in 1935 at the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In.  

If your city made this list, don’t...stress? You can get your daily dose of chill pills by booking a wellness experience on the Mindbody app.

About the author:

Denise Prichard

Manager, Marketing Content and Certified Yoga Instructor (RYT-200)

Mindbody

Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the fitness, wellness, and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, pedaling her heart out at a spin class, or hanging out with her rescue pups. She currently serves as the marketing content manager for Mindbody.

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