Whitesburg KY

Stressed? State ranks among top 4 in the country

After the rollercoaster ride the Cats hoops team led fans on Sunday afternoon — falling to Auburn in overtime to miss out on a Final Four berth — is it any wonder that Kentucky ranks as the fourth most stressed state in the country?

The Bluegrass State finished behind only Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas and just ahead of West Virginia in a new WalletHub report measuring average stress levels in all 50 states. Using 40 key indicators — from job security and affordable housing to crime and divorce rates — experts issued their findings in conjunction with Stress Awareness Month in April.

Unfortunately, for Kentuckians, the numbers aren’t good. The commonwealth attained a third-from-the-bottom ranking for “family-related stress” and “health- and safety-related stress”; ninth in “money-related stress; and 23rd in “work-related stress.”

Kentucky is second in the country in percent of adults in fair or poor health with many — regardless of income level — citing the cost of health insurance as a major stressor. It may even be keeping us up at night.

According to the findings, we aren’t getting adequate sleep, with the state placing third in fewest hours of sleep per night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours per night for adults ages 18-64 and 7-8 hours for those 65 and older.

With more than 17 percent of the state’s population living below the poverty line ($24,860 for a family of four) in 2017, Kentucky is the fourth-worst state in the nation behind Mississippi, New Mexico and Louisiana.

The state also cracked the top 10 among states with highest divorce rates, coming in eighth with 3.7 divorces per 1,000 people.

While we all experience stress, it doesn’t need to control our lives. Experts recommend exercise, even a short walk around the block, listening to music, meditating or praying to help reduce stress. Of course, UK’s elimination from the NCAA Tournament may also lower local stress levels.

— The State Journal, Frankfort

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