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Stressed out cities

The world’s most stressed out capital cities

From working long hours to struggling to get onto the property ladder, the daily challenges of life can really take a toll on us. But where is home to the most stressed out cities across the globe?

Lenstore has looked at 13 different metrics including property prices, cost of living, annual working hours, unemployment rates, air quality and hours of sunshine per year to find out where the most and least stressed capital cities are located. 

Bogotá is the most stressed out capital in the world

Stressed out cities table

With an average monthly salary of £258.59 and just 1,328 hours (55 days) of sunshine a year, Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, is the most stressed out capital in the world. 

This is followed by Athens which received the lowest score when it comes to the quality of green spaces and parks (27.14) and Mexico City in third place where residents spend 2,622 hours of the year working, the highest out of any other capital city in the world.

Seoul and Jerusalem are the cities that cause residents the most financial stress




With 25 million Brits worrying about finance while at work, research has shown that money is one of the biggest causes of stress in our modern day society. But which capital cities are the most expensive to live in?

Each city was awarded a score for the cost of living based on the price of consumer goods, including groceries, restaurants, transportation, and utility bills. A higher score was ruled as having a higher cost of living. Our research found that it’s Bern in Switzerland that takes the crown overall with a score of 118.36, meaning residents here are likely to be struggling with the most financial stress.

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is home to some of the most expensive properties to purchase in the world, setting residents back £17,397.40 per square meter, making getting onto the property ladder extremely stressful. This is followed by San-José (£10,776.49) and Paris (£10,320.80). Meanwhile, Ankara in Turkey is one of the cheapest capitals to buy real estate in, costing just £682.94 per square meter on average. 

Wellington is the least stressed capital city in the world

With its sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, it might not come as a surprise that Wellington is the least stressed out capital city in the world. 

Stressed out cities table 2

Scoring the highest for air quality (96.12) and receiving a healthy, 2,058.7 (86 days) hours of sunshine a year, residents in Wellington are certainly able to enjoy its beautiful surroundings and enviable weather. 

Wellington also has a low unemployment rate of just 4.59% (compared to 17.41% in San-José), whilst residents receive an average monthly salary of £2,671.34, making them the 11th highest earners compared to capital cities in the rest of the world. 

The Nordic countries are home to the happiest capital cities

It might not come as a surprise that the capitals of the Nordic countries are some of the least stressed in the world. Looking at the World Happiness Report, Helsinki scored the highest for happiness (7.769), followed by Copenhagen in Denmark (7.6) and Oslo in Norway (7.554).

When it comes to how positively residents currently view their lives on average, Reykjavik scored the highest with a wellbeing score of 112.3, followed by Helsinki (110.39) and Oslo (109.63).

The impact of stress on our eyesight

If you live in a busy, fast-paced capital, keeping relaxed might seem like a never ending challenge. However, chronic stress can have serious, long-lasting effects on many aspects of our health, even impacting our vision.

When we experience stress, our bodies release adrenaline in response to a perceived threat, which can cause our pupils to dilate to let in extra light and make it easier for us to spot any potential dangers around us.

With chronic stress, our pupils stay dilated for longer periods of time, which can lead to blurred vision, dizziness, eye strain, light sensitivity, eye spasms, eye floaters, dry or watery eyes, and headaches. 

Five tips to de-stress

Keeping stress at bay is important for our mental and physical health, but how can we look to achieve this amidst the demands and pressures of everyday life?

1. Switch off your phone

One of the best ways to de-stress is to switch off from social media, the news, our emails and texts, or anything else that diverts our attention away from relaxing. Try and do this for just 20 minutes each day, ideally before bed or after work to ensure you are having some downtime each day.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercising is great for boosting our endorphins, which, in turn, will help to boost our mood. When we’re exercising, we’re also unlikely to be looking at our screens, replying to messages or consuming media, which can be some of the common causes of our stress.

3. Meditate or practice yoga

Taking just 10 or 15 minutes a day to practice steady breathing and meditation has been shown to not only reduce stress levels but also benefit our overall mental and physical wellbeing. If this isn’t for you, yoga is a great alternative when it comes to practising breathing techniques to help with stress, whilst also keeping you physically active.

4. Practice self-care

Whether it’s taking a bath, listening to music or engaging in your favourite hobby, taking the time to look after yourself is one of the best ways to deal with stress. Ideally, you should take time each day to unwind with an activity that appeals to you as this will help to ensure it becomes a habit, helping you to relieve stress in the long run.

5. Get outside

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get outside and go for a walk. Although this seems simple, getting up and moving around is beneficial for our physical and mental health and can help to put things into perspective if stress has become overwhelming. Furthermore, vitamin D has been shown to be vital for our mental health, whilst vitamin D deficiency has been associated with depression and seasonal affective disorder.