Real Estate site Movoto used data like local economic numbers, home prices, average commute times and the number of hours residents work to determine the most stressed out states in the country. Topping the list, is the great state of Florida. Not only do residents have to contend with alligators, various manners of swamps and a daily onslaught of weird news stories, they’re also faced with the third highest unemployment rate in the country and the seventh worst commute. Georgia, New Jersey, California and Nevada rounded out the top five. You can go here to read more about their stress measuring methodology and use the interactive version of the map to see how your state ranks ... Discuss
A new study from researchers at the University of Washington provides us all with even more reasons why we should stop stressing out so much. As part of the research—the findings were recently published in journals Nature and Nature Neuroscience—the team looked at dopamine levels in lab mice, and how they are affected by stressful situations. Though the details of the experiment, and how the brain processes hormones and chemicals, get a bit technical (the Wall Street Journal has a really interesting write-up that outlines the study), their ultimate findings suggested that stress may prevent the brain from feeling pleasure, possibly even triggering major depression. As WSJ puts it, after extended periods of stress,
A switch has been flipped; stimuli that would normally evoke motivated exploration and a sense of reward now evoke the opposite. Remarkably, those few days of stress caused that anhedonic state to last in those mice for at least three months.
Though researchers still have a lot to understand about the brain and depression, the finding suggest that chilling out could be an important factor in staying happy ... Discuss
As if you needed an excuse to go visit cool new places, according to a new study, traveling keeps you young, healthy and happy. The research from The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and the U.S. Travel Association, found that people who travel regularly are at lower risk of developing heart disease and depression. Traveling has such positive effects on brain health, that it offers similar cognitive benefits as doing mental exercises like crossword puzzles or going to museums. And, it’s a medicine that works pretty much immediately—89% of those in the study reported a significant drop in stress level after just a few days of travel. So what are you waiting for? That trip to Europe you’ve always wanted to take may actually help you live longer ... Discuss