Of course, no place is perfect. Raleigh's workers spend more time on the job than those in most other major metro areas.

4. Minneapolis

Zen factor: Low crime, plenty of jobs

Stress factor: Heavy traffic

The winters may be a bear, but Minneapolis' residents enjoy a quality of life that's hard to beat.

Less than 11% of the city's residents live below the poverty line, one of the lowest rates of all 55 metro areas that CNNMoney analyzed. Unemployment is also low, due in part to a number of large Fortune 500 companies, ranging from Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) to Hormel Foods (HRL) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH).

"The biggest stress point for someone is, 'Do I have a job?' and here, most people are able to find work," said Todd Klingel, president of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Residents feel pretty great, too. Only 11% of residents surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control said they were in fair or poor health, and smoking is less common than in many other cities.

That could be helped by the region's many state-of-the-art health care facilities, including the nearby Mayo Clinic, as well as a wealth of parks and bike paths.

But there are some downsides: Like many Midwestern cities, binge drinking is more common here. And commuters often face traffic headaches thanks to above-average congestion.

"The region is growing quickly and our transportation infrastructure has not kept up," Klingel said. Though he noted a new light rail network could help.

5. Richmond, VA

Zen factor: Plenty of jobs, shorter work hours

Stress factor: Unhealthy lifestyles

A hub of financial and state government jobs, Richmond's unemployment rate is among the lowest of all 55 metro areas. As a result, less than 12% of residents live below the poverty line.

And even though there are plenty of jobs, work's not too much of a grind for most residents. Workers spend less time getting to work and fewer hours on the job once they're there.

"We've had a lot of people who have moved here from more stressful cities comment on... the light traffic and how their tab at dinner is a lot lower than they're expecting," said Lesley Bruno, marketing director at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

One downside: residents aren't in the best shape -- thanks to an above-average smoking rate and lower-than-average exercise rate. But the city has been working to change that with the mayor's "Healthy Richmond" campaign, which promotes active lifestyles among residents, Bruno said. There is also a growing cycling community in the city.

6. Buffalo, NY

Zen factor: Shorter work hours, quick commutes

Stress factor: Fewer sunny days

Buffalo is more than just spicy wings and cold winters.

The second city in upstate New York to make CNNMoney's list of Least Stressed Out Cities, Buffalo ranked the absolute best for avoiding work-related stress. Not only are work hours among the shortest, the commutes are the quickest of all 55 metro areas and divisions we analyzed.

Below-average crime rates and moderate living costs are additional pluses.

"You don't have to work as much to afford the essentials," said Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the Buffalo Mayor's Office for Strategic Planning. "You can spend more time on leisure."