Rush, noise, crowd, traffic- city life can be stressful. Researches have shown urban living has a significant impact on mental health.
Although cities have a significant advantage- economic and technological development, benefits of economic growth and technological innovation, there’s also a byproduct of this progress. According to one Dutch study, people living in a city were 21 % more likely to experience an anxiety disorder and carry a 39 percent increased the risk of mood disorders.
Colin Ellard, a cognitive neuroscientist at Canada’s University of Waterloo, says that is unnatural for human beings to live in a city because humans evolved living in small groups. He founds two ways in which living in big cities exerts a psychological toll. One is the physical stress of crowding, and the second mental liability of city life comes from being in constant contact with strangers which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Causes of Stress- Noise, Pollution, Crowd…
First of all, sharing a small amount of space with a lot of other people- in public transport, supermarkets, streets is very stressful. City life happens at a faster pace, people are always in a rush, they run to work, to pick up kids, for some meeting. Next cause is a higher level of air pollution from the constant traffic and factories. That cause stress to your internal body organs and this can quickly show its effects to your skin and hair, and contribute your overall stress load. The same effect can have the electromagnetic fields that are caused by the massive use of electricity. Constant traffic and traffic jams daily can impact your wellbeing in a very stressful way. Also, the noise level sometimes can get your blood boiling- horns, ambulance, and police sirens are pretty much annoying.
Urban City Life Can Increase Mental Illness
Depression. Social isolation in cities is a growing epidemic where people all crave a sense of connectedness. Cities are full of people, but living anonymously alongside millions of others can actually leave us isolated and lonely.
Schizophrenia. The association between big city and risk of schizophrenia has been documented in several studies, which show that the risk for schizophrenia in the urbanest environment is 2.5 times higher than in the most rural setting. Direct or indirect roles have factors such as social fragmentation and deprivation.
Anxiety. Researches have shown that a lack of social relationships can heighten anxiety. Chances of sickness or death are doubled for those who are cut off from family and friends. Despite living in crowded urban areas, residents often feel socially isolated.
Find Some Getaway From Busy City Life
More then 66 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities, so the impact of urban life on mental condition has become more critical than ever. Although it doesn’t mean that city living damages human brains, it alters the way we deal with stress. So, here are some tips to stop city life from stressing you out.
Get to know your neighborhood. That increases the feeling of relatedness to your city, so get out, walk, learn where the shops and restaurants are, participate in a community.
Go to the park. Get off busy roads full of traffic and people shouting and litter on the street that cause stress and affect your mood. Green spaces, nature, and trees are one way to combat stress.
Bicycle instead of a car. Driving a car in the crowded city is hugely stressful, so much better idea for mental and physical health is cycling. You can easier and cheaper to get to a job or meeting, and on the way, you can look around.
Make an escape strategy. If you need a distance from everyday stress and people, you can make an escape route- your or friend’s home, nearby park or river. That’s the spaces where you feel secure and safe in urban environments.