(CNNMoney) -

From sky-high rents and gridlocked traffic to widespread poverty and unemployment, residents in these cities have a lot to stress about.

1. New York

Stress factor: Long commutes and work hours, high cost of living

Zen factor: Lower crime

Living in New York can be a lot of work.

Despite enjoying some of the best public transportation in the country, New Yorkers spend more time getting to work each day -- at an average of nearly 40 minutes one way -- than commuters anywhere else in the country. They also log in more hours at work once they get there than workers in most other areas.

And that's not all: Sky-high housing costs, which are more than double the national average, eat up a big chunk of most residents' budgets. Combine that with a high cost of living, as well as above-average poverty and unemployment rates, and that means more people are struggling to get by.

On the plus side, crime has fallen significantly in recent years as a result of aggressive policing policies. Now, New York's property crime rate is among the lowest per capita, and the murder rate is also below average for the places analyzed, which has helped make residents feel a lot more secure.

New York also offers a variety of free stress-relieving activities, such as free yoga and pilates classes in the parks. "If you think and you plan, you'll reduce your stress," said Helana Natt, executive director of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.

2. Detroit

Stress factor: High crime, unemployment

Zen factor: Shorter commutes and work hours

Detroit's historic bankruptcy isn't the only thing stressing Motor City's residents out.

Murder and property crime are prevalent in this troubled city, which has had its police force slashed in the past decade.

Many residents are also struggling to make ends meet. The metro division's unemployment rate is hovering around 9%, several percentage points higher than the national average. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of Detroit's residents live below the poverty line.

Some bright spots: It's pretty cheap to live in most parts of the city, though downtown prices have been climbing, and shorter work hours and better commuting conditions make for a less stressful work life.

Plus, while city workers and retirees are bracing for benefit cuts, many residents are optimistic that the city's bankruptcy will help improve city services and strengthen the local economy, said Sandy Baruah, chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

"I think the bankruptcy is fairly widely viewed as a tool to resolve problems," he said.

3. Los Angeles

Stress factor: Heavy traffic, high cost of living

Zen factor: Healthy lifestyles, shorter work hours

On average, Los Angeles residents smoke less, work shorter hours and face far fewer cloudy days -- a proven mood booster.

But they also spend a lot of time stuck in their cars, thanks to gridlock that is among the country's worst. And unlike many other places, L.A. doesn't offer many major public transportation alternatives that help them escape those traffic headaches.

There are projects aimed at fixing that. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing forward with five additions to the area's mass transit network, including the long-awaited "Subway to the Sea." Meanwhile, Caltrans is spending billions on freeway improvements, including adding and extending carpool lanes.

"If we can get people to participate in carpooling we can try to reduce traffic and improve the air quality," said Caltrans spokesperson Patrick Chandler.