It’s tempting on occasion to think the world is falling apart, with everyone turning on each other and attacks coming out of nowhere.
But then I put down the PS4 controller and feel immediately at ease.
Thankfully it’s just a game, and I can escape at will. In the real world many aren’t so lucky, with it taking a little more than an adult colouring book to restore sanity.
A survey by Zipjet – a dry cleaning service in London (yes, I’m surprised too) – has helpfully revealed the most stressful and the least stressful cities on Earth. The dry cleaners reveal that the purpose of the study was to find out how the most stressful cities can benefit from the example of cities least affected (those it’s not clear how, and why it’s of interest to a dry cleaning service).
In the unlikely event you’re based in Baghdad, you might want to look away now, as your city came first. The Iraqi capital scored worst across areas such as pollution, economic factors and health (physical and mental).
Kabul was ranked second, and while tempting to think that Mogadishu was next, another African city – Lagos – emerged third most stressful worldwide.
The full list of 150 cities included a surprise or two, as might be expected with any survey. It’s difficult to object to former conflict-torn cities placed lower down the list…but Kuala Lumpur in 110th?
How is Malaysia’s famously laid-back capital more stressful than Tokyo (72nd), Hong Kong (74th) and New York (84th) – cities equally famed for their long hours and high pressure?
Reaching for a mindfulness app to bring down my blood pressure as I contemplated such madness, I turned to look at the five most tranquil cities in the world.
And they all look rather ho-hum, with the exception of one city known for its annual beer festival.
Stuttgart tops the list, with Luxembourg ranked second ahead of Hanover, Bern and Munich. These places also do rather well in quality of life surveys.
So it’s crystal clear: if you’re looking to relocate to somewhere chilled, learn German first. And if you want to avoid stress in your life, give war-battered cities a miss.