Utahns are among the least stressed, but election worries are affecting many nationwide


If you live in Utah, you are less stressed than you would be in 46 other states. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on how many assignments you may have with a volunteer organization, such as a church, or how many little ones you may be chasing around the house while trying to do other things.

It also, apparently, depends on how you feel about politics in the U.S. right now.

Wallet Hub, a personal finance site, ranked Utah 47th out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia in terms of stress in a recent survey. The site measured stress related to work, money, family and health and safety.

The state scored particularly well in regards to work-related state. Apparently, no people in the country work fewer hours than Utahns. You might not want to tell your boss about that. Also, the state came in 51st in terms of its divorce rate, which certainly is good.

The most stressed state, according to the study, is Alabama. The least stressed overall is Minnesota, which may not include those mornings in January when folks there are trying to thaw the locks on their cars so they can get to work.

But there are more ways to measure stress than in terms of work, money, family and health. The American Psychological Association issued a report earlier this year showing that, while stress levels have been steadily declining over the past decade, there was a noticeable uptick recently in election-related stress. The association decided to begin measuring this after several of its member psychologists reported patients with anxiety about the presidential race.

The first such measurement was taken in August, and it found slightly more than half of Americans feeling the election as a source of stress.

“In addition,” the APA report said, “adults who used social media were more likely than adults who did not use social media to say the election was a very or somewhat significant source of stress (54 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively).”

That should come as no surprise. People tend to be opinionated and nasty about politics online.

The APA followed with another survey in January, which also asked questions about the political climate. It found that political stress levels were on the rise.

“While Democrats were more likely than Republicans (72 percent vs. 26 percent) to report the outcome of the 2016 presidential election as a significant source of stress, a majority of Republicans (59 percent) said the future of our nation was a significant source of stress for them, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.”

Also, the more urban and educated you are, the more stress you are apt to feel. Some of this may be natural, considering Donald Trump’s support base is in rural areas. Racial minorities were feeling more stress than white people.

My guess is those stress levels have risen since then.

The bottom line is that you may be able to reduce your stress levels by moving to a state, such as Utah, where the living is easy. Avoiding election-related stress, however, won’t be so easy.



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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.

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