Alabama ranks most stressed state

by Associate Life Editor Tyler Hargett

Juggling classes, homework and expenses is stressful to any college student. However, Alabama has it the worst out of the U.S., according to WalletHub.

The financial website released a study earlier this month that named Alabama the most stressed area in the United States.

Compared to the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., Alabama received a score of 56.91, beating Louisiana by over half a point and Mississippi by more than a whole point.

WalletHub based the findings off 33 factors spread across four types of stress: money, health and safety, work and family. Each could count up to 25 points.

As for the four kinds of stress, Alabama ranked second in money, sixth in health and safety and fifth in both work and family.

Some of the factors used to calculate the four stress types included lowest credit score and fewest average hours of sleep per night. Alabama placed second and fourth in these categories, tying with Georgia on the former.

Other factors used include fewest psychologists per capita and highest percentage of adults in fair or poor health. Alabama placed second and fourth, tying with Louisiana and Oklahoma on the latter.

This is not the first time Alabama has fallen under the WalletHub “stress radar,” as Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville scored as the second, third, 10th and 46th most stressed U.S. cities of 2016. Mobile and Birmingham had the two highest health and safety stress rankings.

Linda Austin, associate dean of the Anderson College of Nursing, said  she thinks there is evidence to support the effect stress can have on an individual both physically and mentally.

“Hormonal levels change (or) there can be blood pressure problems,” Austin said. “So, the old saying that ‘stress kills’ is true if there’s not an intervention.”

Sophomore Mark Alexander Beaman said he believes some of the main reasons for Alabama’s stress levels are conservative policy, the education system and law enforcement.

“We have to all come together and really figure these problems out,” Beaman said. “I feel that if we keep on fighting each other, then we’re going to completely dissolve any chance of us getting any more advanced as a civilization.”

Sophomore Heather Sagely said she believes a way Alabamians could lower its stress level is to just take a moment to breathe and calm down.

“I think everybody just needs to quit worrying about everything,” Sagely said. “Don’t overthink (the situation).”

Austin said people need to determine how their bodies feel when dealing with stress.

“If you feel yourself more alert or on edge than you should be, then take the time to seriously do four or five deep breaths,” she said. “(Also) I would encourage everyone to start a daily mediation practice. It can be in the form of honest, open prayer to whoever you pray to. (You just need) some way to calm your mind and to take your mind away from what may be worrying you.”

For those struggling with stress, contact Student Counseling Services at 256-765-5215.