What in particular are New Yorkers stressed about?

Stressed business people at work. (Photo by Liaison)

So, what exactly are New Yorkers stressed out about these days?

The cost of living, money, and work are just a few of the stressors that New Yorkers face daily.

The upcoming presidential election, the war in Gaza, and climate change are also adding to New Yorkers stress levels this year, APA senior director and clinical psychologist Dr. C. Vaile Wright said.

While the APA doesn't have specific data for 2024 in New York, they know that money and the economy are significant sources of stress for the vast majority of Americans and that the numbers reporting both have gone up significantly in the last five years.

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Some areas that contribute to New Yorkers stress also include:

  • High cost of living: 66% of New Yorkers say that housing costs are a cause of stress, which is higher than the 49% who say the same nationally.
  • Job security: 60% of New Yorkers cite job stability as a stressor, well above the 49% national average.
  • Longest commute in the US
  • Personal health concerns: 63% of New Yorkers cite personal health concerns as a stressor.
  • Personal safety: 44% of New Yorkers say that personal safety is a cause of stress, which is higher than the 32% nationally.

What were New Yorkers stressed out about in previous years?

NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: People walk on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue on September 16, 2023 in New York City, United States. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Back in 2011, 67% of New Yorkers reported being satisfied with life in general, comparable to the national number of 66%, the American Psychological Association said.

"New Yorkers tend to live highly busy lives, but they may be busier rather than more stressed," Dr. Nava R. Silton, professor of psychology at Marymount Manhattan College said. 

Major stressors from the APA's October 2023 Stress in America survey said New Yorkers were stressed about the following:

  • Money: 77%
  • The economy: 74%
  • Family responsibilities: 71%
  • Personal safety: 49%

How can New Yorkers alleviate stress?

"Stress affects all systems of the body, so it is crucial that New Yorkers know the serious impacts of stress and what they can do to reduce the effect of stressors in their life," Wright said.

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Here's what experts have to say on how New Yorkers can alleviate their stress: 

  1. Exercise and physical activity
  2. Eating healthy
  3. Listening to music
  4. Seeking mental health professionals
  5. Spirituality/ prayer
  6. Focusing on the positive
  7. Expressing feelings

"Focusing on accomplishing goals that are in our control can help prevent our minds from getting overwhelmed by the many uncertainties in life," Wright said. "From using our breathing to slow racing thoughts, to intentionally limiting our social media consumption, or exercising our right to vote, action can be extremely empowering."

Are there certain times of the year or day when New Yorkers have a more heightened sense of stress?

Research suggests that cortisol levels are the highest for people in the morning, Dr. Wright said. 

"This of course also coincides with a busy time of day – getting ready for work, getting kids ready for school – which could also compound individual’s stress levels," Wright said.