World Relaxation Day: Which Latin American Cities Are Most Stressful?

It is not certain how or when the commemoration of this date arose, what is clear is that it is celebrated on August 15 of each year and its purpose is to make people aware so that they can take a moment of relaxation every day.

Relaxed woman on a sofa near a window

The holiday has become popular in various parts of the world, not only because of its importance in relieving tension and stress, but also because it is commemorated at a suitable time of the year in the middle of the summer holidays. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Alexey Zhúkov

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Leer en español: Día Mundial de la Relajación: ¿Qué ciudades de Latinoamérica son más estresantes?

This holiday has become popular in various parts of the world. Not only because of the importance it acquires in relieving tension and stress, but also because it is commemorated at a suitable time of year in the middle of summer holidays for many people around the world.

What is stress and what types are there?

Stress is considered the epidemic of the 21st century due to its increase in population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress is defined as “the set of physiological reactions that prepares the body for action”. Said in general terms, it is a biological mechanism necessary for survival, therefore it is inevitable not to suffer from it, but it is necessary to control it so that it does not negatively impact health. There are two types of stress: acute and chronic.

What are the causes and symptoms of stress?

Among the most frequent causes that generate this reaction are couple and family problems, work tensions, and social difficulties. Signs that can alert you to stress include insomnia, heart rhythm disturbances, compulsive eating, headaches, and nervousness.

What cities in Latin America are the most stressful?

In Latin America, stress rates are on the rise and register worrying figures. So much so that there are cities in the region that are in the ranking of the 100 most stressful metropolises in the world, in which cities are evaluated from the least stressful to the one that is considered hell for its residents and visitors.

Bogotá is the worst rated in Latin America at 89th place due to unemployment, insecurity, economic inequality, and serious traffic problems. Despite being one of the most important cities in the region, the Colombian capital registers statistics with many more cons than pros.

The lack of investment in public transport means that the metropolis has one of the worst traffic in the region, on average Bogota citizens lose around 272 hours of their lives a year trapped in a vehicle, added to figures of poverty, the precariousness of services, and lack of social inclusion that the city means in the most stressful of Latin America.

Also read: International Beer Day: Which Latin American countries drink the most?

Very close to position 85 is Lima. The capital of Peru has a negative image in terms of air pollution, unemployment, and poorly planned construction, as well as informal settlements that lack organization and promote stress for visitors and residents. 30% of the population of Lima, that is, three out of every 10 people, have high levels of tension or stress.

Mexico City swells the list at position 81. The capital of the Aztec country registered the worst statistics for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and high levels of insecurity.

Panama City ranked 73rd. The capital of the Central American country is highly rated for its hit economy due to the pandemic, this affects the emotional stability and mental health of the population, generating high rates of stress.

Buenos Aires was ranked 48th, despite the fact that the Argentine capital reports the worst statistics in the management of the pandemic, registers acceptable indices regarding the health service (65 out of 100), and the best in mental health (88 out of 100 ).   

Tips to prevent and avoid stress

Some actions that help to control and mitigate the risk of suffering high doses of stress are: expressing what you think and feel, doing physical exercise, sleeping well, eating a healthy diet, laughing and staying in a positive mood, and of course performing techniques relaxation such as deep breaths, meditation, yoga, tai chi, among others.