Top 5 Reasons City Life is Bad For You

There’s no doubt many of us are drawn to the excitement, pace and vibrant culture of big cities. It’s also obvious that major cities provide better work opportunities and higher salaries, which is a pretty big drawcard.

While there are many aspects of city living that inspire us in our daily lives, there are also plenty of downsides that are worsening, including the ubiquitous crowds, worsening traffic congestion, noise and pollution.

Increased Anxiety

We’ve all experienced the feelings that come with being stuck in traffic, missing a train, or running late for appointments. Research has shown that stressors like public transport issues, rent, mortgage costs, and the high cost of living cause us anxiety, which is bad for our physical and mental health.

With the pace of busy urban life, it’s easy to see why city residents are thought to be more sensitive to daily chaos and more susceptible to becoming angry and frustrated with their surroundings.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease

I know you’ve heard this one before, and if you Google "stress and heart disease”, you’ll find a plethora of research citing the reasons why stress impacts your heart. We know that physical exercise is good for the heart, but stress and anxiety expose our bodies to elevated levels of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. This stress can change the way your blood clots, which can lead to heart problems.

Reduced Work Productivity

Apparently, increasing numbers of people feel that their work contributes most to their stress levels and it is now fairly common knowledge that stress and anxiety are two of the biggest threats to workplace productivity. This can be seen in an increased number of sick days, the quality of employees’ work, issues with punctuality and problematic inter-office relationships.

Trouble Sleeping

Being physically tired is not the same as being stressed and those who are under considerable stress can suffer with insomnia. Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep, and stay asleep, and can affect the overall quality of your sleep.

Relationship Problems

The balance between our personal and work lives is a major cause of stress and work stress is known to spill over into our personal lives, impacting our personal relationships. Whether we recognise it or not, stress causes us to become more withdrawn, more distracted, and less affectionate towards those we love. It also impacts our leisure time, which can cause others to feel alienated and frustrated.

While it does sound rather doom and gloom, there are things you can do to combat the effects of stressful city life.

Get into Nature

Stopping long enough to appreciate a beautiful natural setting is a natural stress buster. Whether it’s a bush walk, a walk on the beach or sitting by a quiet lake. Try to escape the noise of the city so you can really listen to what surrounds you.

Exercise

If you're not supremely fit, remember that something as simple as walking is beneficial, along with other gentle forms of exercise such as Tai Chi and yoga.

Take Holidays and Mini-Breaks

Holidays don’t have to be a huge once-a-year budget killing affair. Escape whenever you can, preferably when other people aren’t! Go somewhere that will promote your inner zen. Walking, swimming, listening to music and reading a good book by a wood-burning stove - whatever allows you to decompress, and feel recharged and inspired.

Holidays, even brief ones do the following:

Reduce stress
Improve workplace productivity
Promote better sleep
Improve relationships
Improve mental health

Planning some stress reducing activities and making conscious decisions to take time out will help you cope better with every day city living. And, who doesn't love planning holidays and weekends away?

Let us know what works for you when city life is getting you down.

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