New Yorkers: Most Stressed in the Country (We Wouldn't Respect Ourselves Any Other Way)
Relaxation is overrated. Which is why this new survey that New Yorkers are the stressiest people in the nation -- with 75 percent of us citing stress about money -- is, like, well, OBVIOUS. Who are the 25 percent of New Yorkers who don't have stress about money? Can we move in with them? And what kind of New Yorker are you if you don't say you're stressed, regardless of the question?
Relaxation may make you fuzzy around the edges. Is that what you want?
A bunch of complainy New Yorkers talked to a bunch of complainy news outlets about their various stresses with the economy, their jobs, the cost of rent, their health, and their personal safety. According to them, things are hard!
What is not mentioned by most of the articles coming out about this study, which you can find here, is that stress levels have actually declined for New Yorkers in the past years: "The average level of stress reported in New York City was a 6.1 on a 10-point scale in 2008, down to 5.7 in 2009 and 5.5 in 2010," according to the report. (Don't worry, guys, we're still stressed.)
Also, New Yorkers were better than most other Americans at dealing with their stress, more than half of us saying we're doing enough (walking, yoga, day drinking) to cope. Plus, we skip meals instead of carb-loading, so we're skinny! Boo-ya.
But, seriously, would any self-respecting New Yorker claim to be unstressed? Relaxed? Positively Zen? Hell, no. Partially because stress can't exactly be separated from the buzz you get by living here. It's part and parcel of the program. Most likely, you knew rents were high and jobs would be intense when you got here. You also knew life would be intense. Would you rather move to a retirement community in Florida and be "relaxed" with a resting heart rate of...oh, "taking a nap, wake me when something exciting happens"? If you're not stressed, what's the point of ever going on vacation?
Own the stress. Many of us do. And many of us are in denial:
When asked whether the fast pace of New York City increases their stress levels, New Yorkers are split between considering the pace of city life in New York as a contributor to their daily stress. Thirty-seven percent agree or strongly agree that it does, while 32 percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement.
Beyond any of that, we live to complain. See also #10. of "50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City." Or just read the comments.