Pacific Northwest ranks high for stress

Washington, Oregon and Idaho among top 15 most-stressed states

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

Maybe it’s that damned bridge.

Or the rain. The long dark spans of winter, perhaps?

Whatever the reason, the Pacific Northwest has not fared well in a new list of the most and least stressed-out states.

A new Gallup poll has ranked Idaho, Washington and Oregon as the 15th, 11th and 9th most anxiety-ridden places in the nation.

And the rankings were the same last year.

Does that news make you want to punch something?

Maybe we should take it out on Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa and Wyoming. Those states were, respectively, the five least stressed.

And we should probably not mess with people from West Virginia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah and Massachusetts. They were the top five most stressed.

The study, conducted from January through December 2012, asked more than 350,000 people across the U.S. whether they felt stressed "yesterday."

In Washington, 42.3 percent said yes. Of our neighbors, 42.6 percent of Oregonians and 41.9 percent of Idahoans said yes.

The report doesn't give details about why people in certain states or regions would be more stressed out than others.

But a different study, "Stress in America," by the American Psychological Association, has a few theories about stress on the West Coast.

In that study, our region was ranked the second highest stressed, behind the East Coast, with 40 percent of Westerners saying their stress level had grown in the past five years.

"Money, work and the economy are leading sources of stress for people on the West Coast," the authors of that study wrote.

In our region, 73 percent said financial issues were stressing them out, 65 percent said work and 60 percent said the economy.

A large percentage also noted that they have sleep issues, eat unhealthy food and have skipped meals due to stress.

Still, nobody mentioned the Columbia River Crossing Project.

Perhaps we can count that as a small victory.

What do you think? The Columbian would love to hear your opinions in the comment section.