Cover This city is the most stressed out city in the world (Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash)

High rents, long commute hours, 12-hour work days...and does faster internet speed equal higher stress?

In a society that celebrates packed schedules and endless to-do lists, feeling stressed and burnt out has sadly become the new normal. To spotlight the importance of stress management for National Stress Awareness Day on November 3 this year, a company went on a mission to find out which cities in the world lead the most stressful lives.

The study, which was conducted by CBD and wellness brand, Eden’s Gate, analysed a series of metrics such as average commute time, living cost, internet speed, working hours and even internet search volume for the phrases “stress reduction” and “reduce stress”. 

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The most stressed-out city goes to...

The result? Panama, famous for The Panama Canal and biodiversity is the most stressful city to live in. While the city’s cost of living is not one of the highest at US$718 per month, and US$821 for monthly rent, the country has the highest commute time at 120 minutes, as well as one of the slowest internet speed out of all the cities analysed at 17.31 mb/s. 

Mumbai, the city that previously held the title for being the most stressful city to live in, came second on the list. Despite having one of the lowest living costs per month at US$396, and a relatively low commute time of 47 minutes, the city has the highest number of working hours at 3,315 hours per year—if 261 is the average number of working days in the 2021 calendar year, Mumbai’s doing 12.7-hour working days. 

New York and Hong Kong, infamous for their high-stress levels and impossibly high rents also made it to the list. New York is the third most stressful city in the world and has the highest monthly living cost at US$1295 and US$2956 monthly rent. Residents are found working 2,046 hours per year. Meanwhile, Hong Kong ranked ninth, with an average 45-minute commute time, US$1040 monthly living cost and US$2136 monthly rent. 

Faster internet = Higher Stress?

This study also made us wonder: Does faster internet equal higher stress? 

According to the study, New York and Hong Kong have two of the fastest internet speeds, at 83.32 mb/s and 121.2 mb/s respectively—and the two also have the highest number of people searching for stress reduction tips online every month. Hong Kong recorded 210 search volumes, while New York came second at 170. 

It’s no longer a secret that the internet itself, especially social media, affects our mental health. Research has found that social media and the internet lead to increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts. The evidence to support these claims are slowly mounting higher and the latest internet scandal from Facebook only makes us further question our safety on these platforms. 

Perhaps it’s time to unplug and go to a social media detox. And if all else fails, you can always consider moving to the world’s least stressful city for a complete reset and do-over. 

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