Although not comparable to the high cost of living in New York or the gridlock traffic in Los Angeles, Detroit faces other major stress factors which is why according to CNN Money’s list of 10 Most Stressed Out Cities, Detroit comes in as the second most stressed out city in America. New York City’s daily problems begin with a 40 minute or longer commute; however, this commute is somewhat relieved by NYC’s excellent transportation system. When lunch time rolls around, it tends to be a very expensive meal. The work day is considerably longer in New York than most other cities in America, and then employees take the same 40 minute commute home to a residence that costs double the national housing average.
A typical LA day begins with sitting in an hour or more of traffic without the alternative of a good public transportation system. The cost of living in LA is also high, but with 20 percent of its residents living below the poverty line, many people are really struggling to get by. It’s easy to see how all of this could contribute to stress, but New York and Los Angeles’ problems seem rather trivial when considering the dilemmas that Detroit deals with on a daily basis.
Work life in Detroit may be less stressful due to shorter work days and commutes, and on top of that the cost of living is relatively low compared to other cities. It seems that these are all reasons that stress levels should be lower, but Detroit’s issues run much deeper than long hours at the office, traffic or a pricey lunch. Do not be fooled. Detroit is one of America’s most stressed out cities. Murder and other violent crimes run rampant in this town. In recent years, downsizing of the police department has contributed to a higher crime level. Unemployment rates are notoriously high at about 9 percent, and over a quarter of the city’s residents are living in poverty. If the cost of living is already low, so that means that these people living in Detroit’s poverty are working with even less than most people who are having a difficult time making ends meet. Workers are also prepared to receive cuts in benefits on a regular basis. For this city, bankruptcy seems to be the solution to it all since Detroit’s bankruptcy statistics are historically the worst.
However gloomy the outlook may be for Detroit’s economy, it is important that residents of this city learn coping skills and ways to manage stress. Stress is a barrier for lifestyle changes, and economical limits are why Detroit has some of the highest stress levels out of any other city in America. Physical activity is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cut down on stress. Meditation and exercise can’t solve all of this cities stressful problems, but it can help to reduce the heavy weight felt by poverty and crime. Stress can be damaging to the physical and mental health of an individual, and those burdens can rub off on other people. It is worthwhile and can have lasting health benefits to consider ways of reducing everyday stress such as physical activity.
By Sarah Gallagher