If you get stressed easily, stay out of Utah.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, Utah houses the most stressed out residents in the nation. I’m sure Utah‘s office of tourism won’t be adding its newest statistic to its slogan: “Experience the greatest snow on Earth.”
The data—collected on a daily basis—encompasses surveys starting in January until December of last year with more than 350,000 interviews. Granted, this number may seem like a drop in the bucket—less than one percent—to the nation’s estimated 311,838,489 residents, according to the 2010 Census.
Utah has the highest percentage at 45.1 percent, but trailing slightly behind is Kentucky at 44.9 percent, and West Virginia at 43.6 percent on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Utah has kept its No. 1 spot since 2008.
Other states that ranked high on the stress level scale were in the West and Northeast, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
The Cause and Effect
Researchers state that since stress is caused by a variety of issues, some states may have more stressors than others. Just to name a few well-known stressors in the state of Utah, residents are constantly concerned about religion, health, finances, and social status. Anybody who tells you otherwise is most likely lying.
Also, Utah has had some of the highest suicide rates in the nation. This is partially to blame because of its ultra-conservative mentality throughout the state that forces younger, more liberal individuals to feel secluded and threatened.
Most Utahans look through rose-tinted glasses while attempting to pull the veil over any outsider’s eyes. The truth is Utah can be one of the most cold-hearted and ruthless places to live. I believe this is what truly adds to the stress levels.
First, you have religion. Everyone has his or her own personal view on religion. I’m not here to argue who is right or wrong. What I am arguing, however, is that many individuals can feel oppressed within a state that has such heavy ties with any church. The problem lies within the people, not a church.
High expectations are set out for many Utah children that force them into a limited world where any unexpected turn can cause a panic attack. These expectations, when they are not met by these individuals, are a main source of many stressors. For example, as a conservative and very Republican state, many Utah residents laugh at the idea of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights. In a way, many residents are segregating its own population and are too afraid to say it.
Another great example is that of marriage. It is highly encouraged for young men and women to get married at a young age, pop out a few kids, and support a family. More easily said than done. And for those who don’t get married before age 22? They suddenly must be a reject or disgrace.
One close friend of mine was told by her own grandmother that since she wasn’t married at age 22, she was too old for any man to marry her. Her grandmother painted her as an ugly person who wasn’t worthy enough for a man. This, of course, is not true.
Now don’t get me wrong! Not all Utahans are like this. In fact, there are many residents that are just the opposite. But when you add the pieces up as a whole, you’ll find that many residents begin to follow these concepts at least to a small degree.
Nobody could ever find a single solution to eliminate stress within the state of Utah. I personally think Utah will continue to be ranked as one of the highest stressed states in the nation for years to come. However, I think there is a possible solution to this chronic problem.
Residents simply need to take a step back, become a little less closed-minded, and get out of the old ways of thinking. We, as individuals, need to pull up those big boy and girl panties and realize that not everything is offensive. We don’t have to stress over other people’s lives. We’re not failures if we don’t follow that cookie-cutter path. In fact, it should be embraced!
To find out more information about the nation’s stress levels and to see where your state falls in the list, go to http://www.gallup.com/poll/147767/hawaiians-least-stressed-residents-utah.aspx.
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