Georgians rank low in stress poll

Many Georgians heed the old adage "don't sweat the small stuff," according to a recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being poll ranking stress levels state-to-state.


Georgia was the seventh least stressed state, with 37.7 percent of surveyed residents saying they felt stressed "a lot of the day." Hawaiians were the least likely to be stressed, with only 30.2 percent reporting stress, while Utah topped the list with 45.1 percent.

The poll was based on more than 350,000 interviews conducted monthly in 2010. Americans' average stress level was 39.4 percent.

Rural areas and more flexible family lifestyles helped keep stress low in Georgia, said Beth Nesmith, an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Georgia Health Sciences University.

"The rural part means we have more flexible lifestyles to take care of family stresses," she said.

Georgia has fewer two-career families than many high-stress states in the West and Northeast, Nesmith said. One parent is more likely to stay at home in rural areas, she said.

Low stress levels cannot be attributed to Georgia being a more healthy state, Nesmith said.

"We are more unhealthy in terms of diet and diabetes," she said.

The economy might not be as significant a stress inducer. Stress levels did not increase much during the recession, according to Gallup-Healthways.