This Surprising City Is the Most Stressful in Europe

The Tower of the Winds, Athens  | © mritz_p/Flick
The Tower of the Winds, Athens | © mritz_p/Flick
Photo of Ethel Dilouambaka
25 September 2017

This just in! A recent survey conducted by UK-based international cleaning service company, Zipjet, has revealed the most stressful cities around the globe. While the EU is quite well-represented, the study shows that the most stressful city in the Union is, without any surprise… Athens.

Suffering an economic crisis for nearly seven years now, Greeks are not surprised by the result. Daily life for many of its residents is a struggle, a burden they didn’t ask for and that they want to see end.

Developing technology to make lives easier, Zipjet conducted the study to see if the most stressful cities around the world could learn from those cities least affected by stress. Examining factors such as the overall mental health of the residents of cities, Zipjet also considered stress-inducing factors such as the unemployment rate, debt per capita, traffic, public transport, security, pollution and density. The lack of hours of sunshine was also taken into account, as this has been linked to poor mental health.

Athens | © jojo nicdao/Flickr

While it may not come as a surprise that Athens ranked 121 out of 150 (right after Brussels) with a total score of 7.19, factors such as population density ranked particularly highly. With a score of 8.01 in terms of density, Athens is one of the most densely populated European capitals, topped by Paris (9.76) and Bucharest (8.43). In comparison, Tokyo and London scored 7.16 and 6.68, respectively. Athens actually scored high for social security (1.0), but having the second-highest debt per capita (behind Caracas), this small victory doesn’t bear much weight.

Examining the results of the best-achieving cities—such as Stuttgart, with an overall score of 1 (while understandably, Baghdad scored 10)—it seems that besides having a strong economy, having a large number of green spaces impacts on stress levels. Being able to take a walk in a park and breathe some fresh air is definitely a way to relieve some stress. Of course, the financial and personal security aspects of life certainly help, too.

The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 | © Christos Doudoulakis/WikiCommons

Many factors are impossible to correct or improve, but based on the survey’s results, here are a few tips to shake off some stress and improve your daily routine. Whether you live in Athens or not, these tips will certainly help.

  • Whenever you have a break or time to spare, try to venture in the nearest park or green area. You know the feeling of warm sand under your toes? Try it with grass. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
  • On weekends, take the time to get away from urban life and hike in the Hymettus or Pendelis mountains (or your nearest national/state parks). You live in the center? Relax with your favorite book on Filopappou or Lycabettus.
  • If you must commute, try to leave your house five minutes in advance. It may not seem like much, but it could spare you the usual forced jog to catch the metro or trolley. Take a book or listen to some music during your commute.
  • Refrain from using your car if you can get to work or class by public transport. If you have to take your car, leave the house earlier to avoid traffic on main avenues.

Syntagma metro station | © Badseed/WikiCommons

Want to the full results of the survey? See them here.

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