CNN recently published its list of the least stressful cities in the world. None of those movements were without stress, but I have been privileged to live in a few on the list. Smart economists and media professionals come up with metrics to create such models judging cities. However, when we fall in love with a city or a person, it is rarely because they’re less stressful. The world’s most comforting cities can’t be listed. Because, they’re defined by someone’s personal experience.

Cities that speak to me come with a heart and a sense of belonging*. Many economic models are archaic and define parameters which are expected to make someone’s life comfortable. They’re also usually defining comforts by western standards. And I am not sure that comfort equals happiness. If you live in a small galli in Delhi and are able to sleep well in night, your life, however stressed, is happy. Usually if we don’t understand a new culture or experience, we label it difficult and stressful.

Such lists only just make some places aspirational and increase their tourism value. Although as I travel more, they feel like lentils becoming popular because Prince George eats them for lunch now. I m-e-a-n, Indian kids have been eating lentils for centuries. Also, doing Yoga and cooking as per Ayurveda.

Here’s my take on the CNN list:

The world’s least stressful cities

1. Stuttgart, Germany (Lived in the Stuttgart suburbs. Loved it, but try it without speaking German ;-))
2. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (With the best modern art museum)
3. Hanover, Germany
4. Bern, Switzerland (Visited the German speaking Swiss Bern’s suburbs. Expensive but so pretty)
5. Munich, Germany (Lived in Munich. One of my favorite places in the world)
6. Bordeaux, France (My favorite French city is St. Remy)
7. Edinburgh, UK (Lived in Glasgow, visited Edinburgh. It’s pretty)
8. Sydney, Australia 
9. (tie) Graz, Austria and Hamburg, Germany (Austria is my favorite country for most things fun)

 Dil gira dafatan

For Blog Delhi 6 From the Most Comforting Cities to the Most Stressful

The world’s most stressful cities

1. Baghdad, Iraq (Such rich history)
2. Kabul, Afghanistan (Rose garden of my dreams with walnut trees, saddens my heart)
3. Lagos, Nigeria (Very much inspired to see after Adichie’s book)
4. Dakar, Senegal
5. Cairo, Egypt (Take me there, now)
6. Tehran, Iran (Could visit on the drop of a hat)
7. Dhaka, Bangladesh
8. Karachi, Pakistan (Cannot wait to visit)
9. New Delhi, India ( Romanticized, hated and fell in love with)
10. Manila, Philippines

Cities I love

  1. Purani Dilli, Delhi
  2. Munich, Bayern
  3. Amsterdam, Holland
  4. St. Remy, France
  5. Ludwigsburg, Germany


Cities I’ve lived in: Srinagar – Jammu – Noida – Pune – Mangalore – Glasgow – Delhi- Gurgaon – Pforzheim – Munich- Ludwigsburg- Ann Arbor- Plymouth-Detroit

* Before you question, I do not live in the US/west because of its comforts. I live here because my husband works here. As you can perhaps guess, I think it’s stressful to describe who Rafi was. 

Upasna Kakroo

Upasna is a published author and has been blogging since 2003. She solves marketing challenges by the day and sketches every night. Her children's books, illustrations and other creative products are available on this site for browsing & purchases. She currently lives in Plymouth, Michigan, in the United states.


Y · September 16, 2017 at 23:36

I <3 Chicago. I was by myself, a grad student (very stressed), went through heartbreaks and poor, but it still comforted me. So I think such lists are mostly pointless.
I loved (the idea of) Rishikesh, fell in love with Austria, treat Palo Alto like home and find comfort during my Sunday runs on Pune roads. How do you take something so personal and then try to model it generically?

    upasna kakroo · September 18, 2017 at 09:39

    because we’re creatures of habits. And we’re all trying to use big data and organize it without context. I love lists, but generalized lists are nothing more than good headlines.

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