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Why Big Cities Are Worse for Your Mental Health Than Rural Communities

HomeWellnessWhy Big Cities Are Worse for Your Mental Health Than Rural Communities

While the overall population trend in the United States involves people moving away from rural areas and into the cities, it is also not the best for the collective national health. While cities offer more convenience for some, there are also drawbacks that can complicate the lives of city dwellers. Here are some ways living in a city can be worse for your mental health.

Less Healthy

It is a documented fact that those who are under any kind of mental duress run the risk of having their bodies break down under stress. Mental health issues are often a precursor to physical illness and vice versa. Stress is often caused by people being closely compacted in the urban areas, and their immune systems are more vulnerable to sickness. If there is something “going around,” chances are that you will stand a greater chance of catching it when you are in close proximity to others, as opposed to having more room to breathe undisturbed air.

They Are More Expensive

On the topic of angst, finances are a common stressor for everyone. Many times, the flow of people is reversed because of the expense of the city. For example, concern over housing costs and the price of goods is one of the main reasons people are leaving LA. When you live in the city, you will need to earn and save more because housing and even groceries are more expensive in urban areas. This will likely mean more hours at work and a more hectic way of life since money will be an issue when more of your budget goes to living expenses. When people are under financial pressure, it leads to both emotional and physical distress due to the constant state of worry. Since housing costs are such a high proportion of the monthly budget, lower rent and mortgage payments can completely change one’s mental health picture.

Air Pollution

Air quality and its effect on human health and lungs are something that is greatly underestimated. Breathing in polluted air causes sickness, which in turn impacts our mental health. The lingering effects of constant low-grade illnesses on the psyche are numerous. When you live in rural areas, you breathe in a cleaner and fresher air. In a way, that has a relaxing effect since pollutants are not entering your lungs in a large quantity. Air pollution and the effects of smog also have been shown to raise anxiety. Fine particle pollution also causes cognitive decline and agitation. Those living in rural areas will not experience this too as great of an extent.

More Traffic

The average human being living in a large urban area wastes ten hours each year sitting in traffic. Besides having an economic impact on their lives, traffic causes stress and anxiety in people who are constantly worried about whether they will be late for work or another important engagement. Studies have quantified the exact effect that traffic has on mental health and it is also shown to be a factor in an increase in crime. Traffic can also cause feelings of depression and loneliness. In rural areas, traffic moves more freely and getting from Point A to Point B is simply a matter of getting in your car. The freedom of being able to move on the road not only frees up time, but it also removes the burden of frustration.

Less Space

The burden of overcrowding also negatively impacts mental health and results in increased stress. The freedom to move about with large crowds has been shown to improve one’s outlook. Oftentimes, overcrowding is associated with a feeling of claustrophobia which increases stress levels. Conversely, when people have more space, they will usually tend to feel more open and less restricted. Space is generally directly correlated with the ability to relax. In urban areas, there is a much higher population density, which leads to people being crowded together with less personal space.

While many people prefer to live in urban areas these days, there is a definite trade-off and you will end up paying for the convenience in other ways. When deciding where you want to live, make sure to keep these things into consideration so that you can make the best housing decision for you and your family.

Here’s another article we think you’ll like: How Diet Can Affect Your Mental Health

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