West Virginians are stressed.

A new Gallup poll puts the Mountain State at the top of the list when it comes to stress levels nationwide.  The other states in the top five are Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah and Massachusetts.

“Our great state has a lot of issues that wear on us and make it difficult for us to stay happy and healthy and it’s a challenge that we’ve been faced with for some time,” said Dr. Jeff Hammond, past president of the West Virginia Psychological Association.

The question in the survey of about 353,000 Americans was “Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?”

Dr. Hammond says there are many possible reasons why so many West Virginians answered “yes.”

“We do a lot of mining and a lot of farming in West Virginia.  Those are difficult, dangerous, stressful jobs.  We have a lot of veterans in West Virginia and we all know the stress that veterans have to deal with,” he said.

“There’s a lot of tobacco use and a lot of obesity and that really adds to feeling stressed out as well.”

Researchers say the causes of high stress levels are not completely clear, but there are indications of a small link between unemployment and stress levels.

“Stress is necessary.  You have to have a certain amount of stress to feel motivated, to know that you’re alive.  You have to have that push back from your world,” Dr. Hammond said.

However, he says too much mismanaged stress causes physical health problems.  “Both our psychology and our physiology interact with each other.  They stimulate each other.  They enhance each other and you really can’t separate those,” he said.

According to the Gallup poll, the five least stressed states, in order, are Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa and Wyoming.

Dr. Hammond was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline.

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  • Tpm

    No pot. But lots of guns

  • hangman

    I would think the least stress states, would be the one's that allows pot smoking.

  • cindy

    Me and my husband both have good jobs, are financially sound, & we're stressed to the breaking point all the time. It seems we have unreasonable pressure put on us between work & home. It's like we're being pulled in 2 different directions...being in the regular working world which is stressful but then going home & being a good wife, husband, farmer, etc. Trying to merge the 2 in today's society seems unthinkable at times. Maybe that's it. Trying to fit into today's world w/ a West Virginian mentality?

    • hangman

      Cindy, you will never fit in today's world with a West Virginia mentality.

      • Cindy

        Trust me, I've learned that. Neither of us act like our parents. We both do each others work because there's just too much to do. My mom calls it a modern relationship.

  • thornton

    Lately especially, I'm guessing the rising cost of tinfoil has everyone stressed out.
    It's not good to be without a protective cap.

    • JimJim

      Love your comment, Rush, Beck, Hop keep telling us how bad the government is, so, I have to have my cap! ;) Oh, and don't forget Fox News, now the're a stressor.......

  • C.Hoffman

    I equate the stress levels to Battered Citizens Syndrome, a manufactured crisis that is achieving it's goals and the diagnosis for the future is bleak.

  • elaine

    Wondering why Mississippi is one of the least stressed states when they are so similar to us.

    • Mark

      Mississippi is less stressful because it has a beach and doesn't have Judge Kelly and our wacky Supreme Court of failures.

  • GregG

    I would guess that 90% of the stress in this State is attributed to the lack of money in one's pocket.

  • Shauna Johnson

    Dr. Hammond said being physically active is a good way to deal with stress.

    He also suggested keeping thoughts positive. He says negative thinking is damaging and stressful.

    He says being flexible also reduces stress, steps like practicing forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance so resentment is not allowed to build.

  • Sue Flanagan

    Was driving and listening. Could you add to this article the points Dr. Hammond made about dealing with stress? I remembered being physically active and positive thinking...(memory loss is probably an indication of stress.)
    Thanks! One of the best segments Hop has had lately, and helpful, too!