Three Georgia cities in top 25% of most stressed in U.S.

Credit: AJC

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Being an adult can be stressful during the best of times. During a worldwide pandemic, that stress can increase exponentially.

In fact, 39% of Americans say worry or stress about coronavirus has had a negative impact on their physical health.

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But stress isn’t always a bad thing, financial website WalletHub states. Certain kinds of stress can have positive effects on a person’s well-being, at least in the right doses. When stress reaches an unmanageable level, however, it turns from acute to chronic. That’s when we become vulnerable to its damaging effects, such as health problems and loss of productivity.

WalletHub compared 182 U.S. cities — including the 150 most populated, plus at least two of the most populated in each state — across four key dimensions: work stress, financial stress, family stress, and health and safety stress.

Those four dimensions were evaluated using 42 relevant metrics graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest levels of stress.

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Three Georgia cities ranked in the top 25%, but the biggest city didn’t have the most stress, WalletHub found.

Atlanta ranked No. 37 overall, up two spots from last year, with a score of 54.02.

Atlanta’s ranking in each dimension were:

  • Work stress: 38
  • Financial stress: 35
  • Family stress: 57
  • Health and safety stress: 77

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Columbus finished at No. 24, down one spot from last year, with a score of 56. Columbus was No. 5 on the list of lowest job security.

  • Work stress: 90
  • Financial stress: 13
  • Family stress: 85
  • Health and safety stress: 18

Georgia’s most stressed city was Augusta, which ranked No 23, with a score of 56.04. Last year, however, Augusta was No. 19.

  • Work stress: 88
  • Financial stress: 12
  • Family stress: 54
  • Health and safety stress: 40

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There is no “most” effective way to handle stress, Jerry Gale, a professor at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, told WalletHub.

“It will vary for people and times,” he said. “The stress is related to many factors (home, family, being alone; demands of work; demands of kids; needing alone time; needing connection time; health; nature-deficit; exercise, etc.). Find ways to shift your horizons of value and the future beyond the pandemic.