There had been various studies by a group of therapists on why living in the city is a threat to your mental health. The urban setting is associated with higher rates of individuals experiencing mental health problems compared to those who live in rural areas. They have a higher risk of depression, double the possibility of acquiring schizophrenia, and 25 percent more likely to experience anxiety.
Although city dwellers, on average, are wealthier and have better access to healthcare and other services, there are some downsides to urban living. — Sian Beilock Ph.D.
Reasons Why Urban Living Increases Mental Health Problems
There are several causes of why people in cities have increased mental health problems. Listed below are some of the reasons.
- Pre-Existing Factors
A lot of people move to urban life to be able to have access to better service and economic opportunities. It is brought about by their negative experiences from the past. Hence, the moment they transfer to the city, they still carry the burden of their problems. Examples of this include poverty, homelessness, unemployment, personal crises, family problems, trauma, immigration, or addiction.
- Affected Physical Health
Aside from affecting the mental health, city life can also touch on the physical well being as well. A study from 2017 revealed that too much exposure to both the city noise or air pollution causes severe damage to a person’s cardiovascular health. It is brought about by the spike in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. The elevated levels lead to a person’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Life in the city sometimes forces its residents to overeat fast or processed food. It makes them more at risk in terms of weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Those individuals who experience these physical health problems feel more anxious and stressed, which then increases the mental health problems they encounter.
Experts explain that the noise, pollution, and high population density of typical city life can cause chronic stress. As such, city dwellers are at a higher risk of psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia than country dwellers. —
- Lack Of Sleep
Admit or not, the traffic noise and any other negative externalities interfere with sleep quality. Hence, more and more urban dwellers become prone to insomnia. According to a study of 15,000 individuals at Stanford University, the bright lights brought about the city life dampens their ability to get a good night rest.
The survey revealed that 6 percent of the respondents live in a highly lit urban area, which only makes them sleep less than six hours per night. Experts found out that one-third of these urbanites were not happy and contented with the quality of sleep they get from their nighttime rest.
- Inferiority Complex
There are a group of people who sometimes feel discriminated in the city upon transferring. For example, those individuals who come from a minority status or a more impoverished country often find themselves feel injustice, discrimination, prejudice, and hopelessness in the presence of more stable neighbors.
This feeling of inferiority from the people around them cause some individuals to feel more traumatized with their experience in the city. It then increases their mental health problems.
- Lack Of Social Relationship
Social scientists revealed that a lack of social relationship could increase the levels of anxiety. At the same time, an individual’s chance to get sick doubled for those who do not have a support system by their side. At the same time, since a number of the urban dwellers come from their respective rural areas, they will most likely feel homesick at times. These feelings of isolation and loneliness often translate to mental health disorders.
We relish the idea of having a greater variety of destinations for shopping, eating, and playing, and we like the idea of being freed from our cars and able to lead more of our lives on foot. Others are more attached to the low-density lifestyle with room to spare, a double car garage, wide boulevards and plenty of parking at the mall. — Colin Ellard Ph.D.
Dealing With The Urban Life
Learning how to deal with these various stressors can help improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The tips below may be your guide in preventing loneliness, depression, or burnout from the toxic environment of the urban dwelling.
- Do not confine yourself in the four corners of your apartment since this can be one bad case of city-living blues. What you can do is to head to the park or explore the green areas of the city. Studies have proven how much nature can improve your overall psychological well-being. It is also a way to reset your brain from all of the stresses you encounter.
- It is also recommended to exercise. This strategy is known to improve the immune system, prevent heart disease, and make you happier.
- You are not alone with what your feeling. Thousands of you feel the burden of city life to their mental health. Hence, it is essential to build social connections and form an intimacy with the people around you. Creating a community of your own will make you more relaxed and at peace.
With all of these things in mind, the dual nature of urban life is more evident. This rapid urban growth can serve as one of the most significant living opportunities but also viewed as one of the enormous complications in terms of physical and mental health.