Have you been feeling stressed lately? Why not reduce your stress by taking a vacation in one of the least stressed states in the nation?
Movoto created a study on American stress based on six criteria: “percentage of population with a long commute, unemployment, hours worked, population density, percentage of income spent on housing, and percentage of population without health insurance.” Based on these criteria the most stressed states included Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Illinois, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and Arizona. Among the least stressed states are quaint vacation spots like Maine and Vermont.
Studies show that there is a lot to love about Maine and Vermont. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Bring Index, Maine and Vermont are among the top 20 happiest states based on life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. Also, the Institute for Economics and Peace ranks Maine as the most peaceful state in the country and Vermont as the second most peaceful state in the country. These states ranked high because of low homicide rates, fewer violent crimes, and a low incarceration rate. So why not go on a stress-free vacation in a low stress, happy, and peaceful state?
Here are some low stress states to consider for your next vacation:
This northern state is not only a happy, peaceful state, it’s also an affordable destination. According to Travel and Leisure, Portland, Maine is one of the top 20 most affordable cities to visit for your vacation. This city is known for it’s beautiful coast and port history. The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a great place for kids and hot-air balloon rides make for a romantic evening for couples. Do you like to relax with a glass of beer? Maine may be the vacation spot for you with 40 breweries in the state. Cute indie boutiques, friendly locals, and delicious lobster also make this city a great vacation spot.
Nearly 80 percent of this beautiful state consists of forest, making this a great vacation destination for ecotherapy. Through ecotherapy stressed individuals are able to reduce their cortisol levels by walking in nature or engaging in outdoor activities. For relaxing in nature consider Moss Glen Falls and Granville Reservation or read poetry as you walk the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Middlebury. Other popular Vermont destinations include Burlington, the home of the original Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop. There’s the Shelburne Museum, which has various collections ranging from carriages and costumes to impressionist paintings and circus posters. Or consider visiting Vermont’s Festival of the Arts this summer. There have been visual art exhibits, live music, theater performances, film presentations, and culinary art samples.
Honorable Mention: Colorado
Though according to the Movoto study, Colorado is ranked 21 (neither relaxed or stressed), it’s still a notable place to visit for a stress-free vacation, especially Denver. Why Denver? It’s the fifth healthiest city in the country according to Forbes, with 61 percent of the residences in “excellent or very good health.” Denver was also ranked as one of the top 20 most affordable cities for vacations. So if you plan on visiting Denver consider one of its many affordable, health-conscious activities like hiking or yoga at Red Rocks Park, kayaking in Confluence Park, or rock climbing and zip-lining around the Rocky Mountains.