A study in 1930 pointed out that living in a city increases the risk of suffering from psychosis.
Urban life puts mental health at risk in several ways, but there is good news: there are ways to cushion the impact. We like to live in the city. More than half of the planet is currently doing so.
It is understandable. Large cities have numerous advantages, among which are that they have the best health, educational, cultural and leisure services. Not to mention that the vast majority of the employment generated is done in urban environments. But not all are advantages: some experts point out that cities increase the risks for mental health.
The idea is not new. Scientists have been studying it for decades, since a study in 1930 pointed out that living in a city increases the risk of suffering from psychosis.
Noise increases irritability and excitability, which increases tension and produces what is usually called stress.
The response of the individual can range from aggressive shock to situations of psychomotor hyperactivity or anxiety reactions, accompanied by sleep disorders.
The latter causes an alteration in both conciliation and quality, making it lighter, with more frequent night awakenings. Of course, noise can cause damage to the inner ear.
With these risks in mind, it’s important to use some tools available to protect us from these threats.
For example, in the case of noise pollution, it suggests soundproofing the houses, and using earplugs or headphones that isolate the noise.
Of course, pretending to use headphones that mask annoying sounds with music can be expensive, since the volume of noise to which we submit ends up being higher.
The best thing in these cases is to follow the recommendations of the WHO to listen to music without losing hearing.
As for how to deal with the effects of pollution, it is a good idea to clean with dampened mops, reduce the use of heating, increase the periodic outlets to less polluted places and use masks to travel through the streets.
However, it is important to bear in mind that the use of masks to filter the air we breathe will not prevent exposure to environmental pollution.
According to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the best of commercial masks for cyclists barely manages to protect against 50% of the polluting particles.
Social commitment is the key to creating an environment prone to mental health. Our environment is the place where we grew up, we educate our children, we grow and we develop.
The task, in this sense, would be to weave relations of mutual care in which welfare, respect and growth are prioritized in a sustainable and egalitarian manner.
Our emotional balance depends, to a large extent, on whether we carry out this idea. To achieve this, scientists encourage people to participate in the community in order to make living spaces more healthy places.
An interesting proof that engaging with others is beneficial for mental health is in the initiatives related to the elderly.
Just know some testimonials to understand that cultivating social relationships improves emotional well-being, which is a purpose can make you happier.
It is important to make an effort because, ironically, life in the city can make it difficult, even if the cities are the greatest meeting points for people.
You have to find time for yourself
There is a need to find time for oneself and to do leisure activities that you enjoy, since that helps to disconnect from the daily tension and to find ourselves stronger in the face of stressors and generators of anxiety and depression.
The main idea of the message is to take advantage of those moments to recover the energy and to know oneself. Among the most appropriate activities, hiking, yoga and dancing.
The latter is especially interesting in the case of the elderly, since, with this type of activity, in addition to being distracted, they exercise the muscles.
And if you do not want to go to dance classes, an alternative may be to perform movements or exercises at home, putting music to make it more enjoyable.
Now, completing our agenda with activities can saturate it, turning an activity that should be pleasant into an anxiety trigger, a word that we should not use lightly.
It is a good idea to learn to say no, and to select the social, professional and family events that are presented to us on a day-to-day basis. It is better not to schedule many activities and leave time for oneself.
Another fundamental activity to free the body from the stress of life in the city is as simple as taking a walk.
It does not always have to be for a green area, but the influence of vegetation on health is undeniable, so much so that living less than 300 meters from a park has been linked to a reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
The conclusions of a recent study of the Institute of Global Health of Barcelona invites to think that, if the habit is good in adults, it is even more so among children.
According to the work, children who grow up in contact with green spaces turn into adults with lower levels of nervousness and depression, as well as greater vitality.
Is meditating an option?
Scientists recommend doing a little meditation upon waking up. Although it will not take you more than 10 minutes, try to get up early, so you do not rush.
If you are not a regular practitioner, do not worry, you can find “express” meditation techniques on the internet to guide you through the exercise.
You can alternate this practice with conscious breathing exercises. Mind you, keep in mind that mindfulness has its shadows.
Mindfulness is not going to solve problems for you, but it can teach you useful techniques to manage difficult situations.
Psychology offers other ways to reduce stress. For example, those based on acceptance and commitment.
These resources are used to detect when stress begins to take its toll and be able to get away from our emotions and thoughts, at least enough to be aware that we can control them.
Of course, they cannot solve problems continuously. If you have to resort to them constantly, perhaps, the underlying stress is not resolved.
In any case, when you finish the day the objective is to lower pulsations. For this, first of all, dedicate a few minutes to remember the happy experiences.
If we have had them during the day we can recreate in them, if not, we can evoke past experiences. Remembering these moments will make us renew ourselves.
A final proposal is “vaccinating” ourselves against urban stress. At the end of the day, a good option is to take a bath in a relaxed atmosphere.
For this, use essential oils and scented candles are good companions. Pleasant smells generate pleasant memories and sensations that produce relaxation.