Photo illustration courtesy of Metro Creative Connection
A new Gallup poll released at the end of April found Kentucky to be among the most stressed states in the nation. Kentuckians also ranked second in percentage of people reporting they experienced no enjoyment on the previous day.
It might come as little shock that Hawaii breezed by the mainland, kicking up its heals as the least stressed state in the nation, but a recent poll suggests the opposite for Kentuckians who might be more blue out of stress than their sports allegiances.
A Gallup poll released at the end of April reported Kentucky bottomed out the list as the third most stressed state, immediately behind Rhode Island and West Virginia. About 45 percent of Kentuckians reported they felt stressed the day before they were polled.
Kentucky also placed among the states experiencing the least enjoyment, as about 19 percent of respondents reported they did not experience any enjoyment on the previous day. Kentucky ranked second behind Rhode Island for experiencing the least enjoyment, according to the poll.
For comparison sake, nearly 90 percent of Hawaiians reported they felt enjoyment on the previous day, ranking first in the nation, followed closely by about 89 percent of people from Wyoming.
Dr. Sarah Shelton, licensed clinical psychologist with the Psychological Wellness Group in Paducah, said Kentucky has trended toward the bottom five most stressed states in Gallup polls for several years, but there is a relatively small range of variations dividing the states.
Shelton highlighted the roughly 6 percentage point difference between Massachusetts, ranked as the fifth most stressed state, and Wyoming ranked as the fifth least stressed state.
“What this poll actually reflects is that at the national level, we are experiencing significant rates of stress in today’s busy and complex society,” Shelton said.
Nationwide, the poll found that about 41 percent of Americans reported being stressed during the previous day. Furthermore, the states reporting the least amount of enjoyment were typically relegated to the Northeast and South.
Kentucky may be among the top states experiencing the least enjoyment, but Shelton said it’s important to note that the overwhelming majority of Kentuckians reported experiencing enjoyment in the previous day.
“As a whole we are a mostly happy state, but one with considerable stress,” Shelton said. “Also, it is important to realize that, as individuals, we have a considerable amount of control over our quality of life and personal happiness, regardless of our geographic location.”
Stress can be more than just a daily nuisance, however. If left unchecked, chronic stress could exacerbate health concerns like elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association.
Gallup polled more than 350,000 adults via phone between January and December 2012, and reported a ±4 percent sampling margin of error.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676 or follow @WCPinkston on Twitter.