Years after the recession ended, the unemployment rate is still above the national average. Rush hour traffic is a pain. And with sunny days occurring around half of the year, residents don't often get the mood boost that the sun's rays can provide.
Meanwhile, Chicagoans aren't exactly living the healthiest lifestyles. Binge drinking is common here, as is smoking -- and nearly 20% report they are in fair or poor health, according to a Centers for Disease Control survey.
There are bright spots, though: Despite a historic reputation for violence, the metro area's property crime rate is actually below average. Chicago is also home to the country's second largest transit agency, which provides a variety of public transportation options for those hoping to avoid traffic.
Meanwhile, the waterfront city offers a variety of parks and recreational opportunities, and Chicago's City Hall is currently funding a variety of park improvements to ensure every resident lives with a 10-minute walk from a park.
Stress factor: Heavy traffic, high poverty rate
Zen factor: Plenty of sunshine, fewer binge drinkers
It may have tropical weather, beautiful beaches and a cool art scene, but Miami's residents are dealing with plenty of stresses: poverty, a high cost of living and terrible traffic.
Almost 18% of metro area residents, which includes a large immigrant population, live below the poverty line. Plus, affordable rents are hard to come by, leaving many families priced out of the housing market, according to the local Habitat for Humanity.
Local nonprofit Catalyst Miami provides a number of services for low-income residents, including financial coaching to help with everything from buying a home or dealing with debt collectors to enrolling in health insurance.
"What we encounter with a lot of our clients is a lack of familiarity with the American system, not understanding how to access benefits and services they are entitled to," said Gretchen Beesing, the organization's chief executive officer. "Certainly it causes stress."
And don't forget about the traffic. Commuters here deal with some of the most stress-inducing gridlock in the country. It's so bad on one common route, US-1, that it's been dubbed "Useless 1" by the locals.
On the bright side, residents enjoy plenty of sunny days, and according to the CDC, they are also less likely to be binge drinkers.
8. New Orleans
Stress factor: Unhealthy lifestyles, high crime rates
Zen factor: Plenty of jobs, low cost of living
Just because it's called "The Big Easy" doesn't mean it's always easy to live here.
Crime is rampant: The city has battled the notorious moniker of "Murder City," with a murder rate consistently among the nation's highest.
Health concerns are also weighing on many residents. Almost a quarter of people surveyed by the CDC reported they were in fair or poor health. Smoking and lack of exercise are also common.
On the bright side, it's cheaper to live here thanks to below-average living costs. The median home price, for example, is around $160,000.
And most residents aren't stressing about finding a job: unemployment is remarkably low at around 4%. Hospitality and construction jobs are common, and there is also a burgeoning startup scene.
New Orleans Chamber President Ben Johnson said in a statement that, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the city is "leading urban centers around the U.S. in reinventing itself," including the development of a new $2 billion biomedical district.
Stress factor: Heavy traffic, long commutes
Zen factor: Low cost of living, healthy lifestyles