Stress is a severe health issue worldwide. The National Institute of Mental Health explains that long-term exposure to chronic stress can harm the immune system, digestion, and fertility, as well as raise risks of heart problems, diabetes, mental disorders, among other problems. And various factors in living environments worldwide can impact stress levels, from how much discrimination you encounter to how annoying your commute to work is. Quantifying the exact stress levels of different locations with all these factors is difficulty but a new study commissioned by Zipjet, a London-based laundry delivery service, has sought to create a "stress ranking" of the most and least stressful cities around the world.
According to the UN, 54.5 percent of the world's population live in cities as of 2016, and that's projected to rise to 60 percent by 2030. And considering how urbanization affects us, this isn't really great news for human health. A study published in Nature in 2011 found that urban and city living actually changes the human brain; if you currently live in a city, your amygdala (which controls fear and, yes, stress) is likely more active than if you live in the country. Studying precisely which cities affect us most on stress scales is a pretty delicate question, as stress is highly personal and cultural, but this recent analysis showed some pretty interesting findings.