HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston is the most stressful large city to work in the country, according to a new survey from LLC.org that measured eight stress factors, including average commute time, income growth rate and average hours worked per week.
Space City isn't the only Texas location on the list -- the Lone Star State is home to 10 cities in the lists' top 30. Arlington is number two, Dallas is number three and Corpus Christi is number six.
According to LLC.org, workers in Houston clock in an average of 39.5 hours per week at work. The national average is 38.7 hours. Houstonians also have an above average daily commute of 52.8 minutes roundtrip.
The survey also found that 30.4% of Houston workers are without health insurance, which is much higher than the national average of 10.5%.
Many people deal with multiple stress factors and could use some relief. Doctors remind workers that taking good care of yourself with regular exercise, healthy food, plenty of water and rest can improve emotional well-being.
There are also many seemingly small and simple things you can do at any time to slow down and calm down. ABC13 spoke to licensed professional counselor Rachel Eddins of Eddins Counseling Group, which offers a free webinar every month.
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Try going outside
The most common and universal stress reliever is simply going outside, according to Eddins.
"It naturally creates relaxation and reduces your muscle tension, lowers your heart rate," Eddins said. "It activates your senses, so it brings you into the present moment and helps you to feel grounded and takes you away from all those thoughts."
Focus on your senses
When your thoughts are racing, Eddins suggests trying to focus on simple things you can see, hear, smell, touch or taste.
"If your mind is swirling, you can focus on the leaves on the trees, for example," Eddins said. "Being in the present moment is what that's all about."
Some other ideas include focusing on the birds chirping, appreciating a painting on the wall, enjoying the smell of a rose, savoring your lunch one bite at a time or listening closely for the bass guitar in a song.
"What it does is it takes you away from your big feelings," Eddins said. "Let's say, if you're tired and cranky, or if you're having all these thoughts of 'Oh, what am I going to do? How am I going to pay the bills?'"
Eddins said stress and a low heart rate are incompatible. Slowing down your breathing can help any time, including before bed, which can help you sleep better.
"You can take a moment to inhale for four counts, then hold it for seven counts and exhale for eight counts," Eddins said. "You can have (kids) imagine smelling a flower for four counts, then we're going to blow out the candle for seven counts... something more practical, in their language."
Play time for kids and adults
Kids naturally work out a lot of stress by playing and using their imaginations. Eddins said we can learn a lot from them.
"There are lots of ways you can play. You know all your hobbies. But sometimes, it's just having a dance party in your living room, that's a great way to play," Eddins said. "Movement releases that tension out of your muscles. We hold stress in the body."
"When you're playing, again, it's all about being in the moment," she said. "When you're stressed, your thoughts are going a mile a minute... but when you're really in the moment, really experiencing, all those things take us out of the mind, out of the worry, out of the stress."