Living in a big city is great. You have access to concerts, theaters, street performances, sports events, all varieties of restaurants and so much more. Often, though, big-city residents lose sight of all the great things their metropolis has to offer. The culprit for this is stress.
Below, you’ll find five of the most common stressors among big-city tenants and how you might go about overcoming each one.
Being incessantly surrounded by hordes of people makes most of us feel cramped and uncomfortable. Work that in to a daily routine, and you’ve got the perfect setup for a stressful lifestyle.
One simple way to reduce this crowd-induced stress, though, is to find a few green havens.
Studies have shown that the more natural plant life you surround yourself with, the less stressed you will be. So find a nice, local park. Visit a rooftop garden. Heck, even do a little gardening yourself. On days when you’re feeling the stresses of cramped city life, visit one of those havens.
Constant noise creates stress in the body. On top of that, it reduces your ability to sleep well, which of course only contributes more to those stress and anxiety levels.
Many people think the best way to get away from noise is to simply move to a less-populated area, but the truth is that stressful noise is everywhere. It’s simply a matter of which kinds of noises have the greatest effect on you personally.
An arguably simpler solution than relocating is to do some minor redecorating. You might try:
- Sprucing up your home with things you find comforting
- Creating your own meditation area – even if meditation, to you, means playing videogames or relaxing with a beer, it helps to have a designated “chill” area for it
- Implementing some basic soundproofing strategies
- Bringing live plants into your home. Not only do they help with soundproofing, but they also bring a little bit of that green haven into your home life
By feeling more at peace in your own home, you’ll find it easier to face the noisy world each day as you set off for work. With a little mental preparation, you can even learn to embrace and love the noise of the city.
Who could overlook the most widely acknowledged modern-day stress of city life: traffic? Whether you live in New York City, Boston or Los Angeles – all of which are some of the worst cities for commuters – it’s important to reduce those stress levels and improve your commute.
In a big city, every hour feels like rush hour, traffic jams are unavoidable and not a day goes by without a car accident. According to recent research, driving-related stress elevates the blood pressure, and the farther your daily commute, the higher that blood pressure becomes. Over time, this kind of stress can even lead to cardiovascular disease.
How can you combat this stress? By learning how to get the most out of your commute. For instance, you can use educational hands-free apps while you drive, you can journal aloud and you can listen to audiobooks.
Beyond those options, it never hurts to try out carpooling, using public transportation or even biking to work.
Higher Cost of Living
Another very common complaint about big-city living is the high cost of living. Take the first episode of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” When Kimmy decides to live in New York, her friend worriedly exclaims, “a pop here is like five dollars!”
When these financial stresses creep up, it may help to remind yourself that, even if your rent or mortgage payment is double what it would be in a small town, the other expenses in your life aren’t. Since the wage you’re paid should also be about twice as much as it would be in a small town, you’re actually getting more, financially, out of living in the big city.
If you scoff at the claim that you’re making more money in the city, it may be time to investigate fair wages for your career. If, after a little research, you discover that your salary isn’t where it ought to be, it may be time to learn how to ask for a raise .
Crime, Poverty and Cleanliness
Inevitably, highly populated areas come with more crime, more poverty and more littering. Constantly seeing and hearing about these things can invoke feelings of worry, guilt and even helplessness – all of which contribute to stress, anxiety and depression.
You may not be able to stop crime or end world hunger singlehandedly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to a great cause that works toward meeting such lofty goals. Volunteering for a cause you support means:
- Finding fulfillment, knowing that you’re doing your part
- Feeling empowered to do more
- Inspiring others to do their part for a cause they care about
- Helping others in ways you may never have anticipated
When you take the time to contribute to something you truly care about, you get lost in the world of the cause. In those moments, you see everything in a new light, and suddenly traffic jams and noisy neighbors just don’t seem like that big of a deal.