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Taxes and tornadoes: two of the most stressful things in life

Where were you on April 27, 2011?

If you were in the eastern half of the United States, particularly in the South, you probably were taking cover from the horrific storms that lashed the country.

In Alabama alone, 62 tornadoes touched down, setting a record for the number of twisters to strike the state in a single day and representing one of its worst disasters.

The Birmingham News reported that the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak killed at least 248 people, injured more than 2,000 others, wiped out more than 7,800 homes and seriously damaged close to 6,000 residences.

Tornado Outbreak, April 27, 2011, Mississippi and Alabama

So it's no surprise that the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found April 27 to be the most stressful day of 2011.

Awful April 2011: In fact, last April was not a good month for a whole lot of people, even those where Mother Nature was in a much better mood.

The Index shows that the next most stressful day of 2011 was April 18, the income tax filing deadline.

"This is likely related to the pressure many are under to file on time, but may also reflect the anxiety brought by the focus on one's personal finances," according to the Well-Being Index, which uses information gathered from interviews of at least 1,000 American adults every day to obtain real-time measurement and insights into their attitudes and well-being.

"In recent years," added the Gallup-Healthways group, "bad economic news has been particularly closely associated with days of low happiness and high stress."

Some good news: But the 2011 news wasn't all bad.

The likelihood of Americans reporting a lot of stress and worry without a lot of happiness and enjoyment remained virtually the same in 2011 as it was in 2010.

What's more, say the Gallup-Healthways data trackers, the percentage who experienced the reverse -- a lot of happiness and enjoyment without a lot of stress and worry -- has ticked slightly upward over the last two years.

While we can't do much about tax traumas and even less about the weather, let's hope that the trend toward increased happiness continues in 2012.

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