By Cliff Despres
Where you live could be impacting your stress levels (and overall health).
SmartAsset, a financial company, recently examined the positive and negative factors of the largest 500 U.S. cities to determine the stress levels facing those residents. They rated things like sleep time, commute time, physical activity, and unemployment.
Boulder, Colo. (13.9% Latino) ranked as SmartAsset’s least-stressed city.
The top-10 “most-stressed” cities, sadly, were heavily Latino-populated areas in the Southern U.S.
Why Do Latinos Face Stress?
Unchecked stress can impact your mental and physical health.
It can also contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, which disproportionately impact Latinos.
Broward County, Fla. (27% Latino), provides one example.
Many Latino immigrants arrive here with no community ties, no possessions, no (or little) money, and no prospects for employment.
That can be challenging enough.
But they also often face legal questions or citizenship matters.
That’s why Hispanic Unity of Florida was founded. They offer free legal aid to low-income families in their most troubling times.
This can relieve stress and, in turn, improve people’s health and quality of life.
“When you are able to help someone deal with a situation they feel is nearly impossible, that helps to ease their mind,” said Magaly Alvarado of Hispanic Unity of Florida. “Knowing that they aren’t going to lose their home or have their paychecks garnished or be deported and have to leave their families, having those issues dealt with gives them peace of mind and lets them focus on building a better life.”
Other groups are easing Latinos’ stress, too.
In Minnesota, HealthFinders Collaborative community health center leaders like Charlie Mandile came up with a solution to local health inequities a few years ago.
They started the Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyles Program. The program aims to bring free preventive health and fitness classes to the local rapidly growing Latino population.
But the classes needed revitalization.
So Mandile and the HealthFinders team implemented revamped classes, many in dual languages and accompanied by childcare service, in 2015.
They now offer free nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction classes.
“[Certified personal trainer Juliana Lima] has been tremendous for us,” Mandile said. “She really understood the vision of what we wanted to achieve and has really made a connection with the community.”
What are some innovative stress-relief solutions have you seen in your community?