New York has certainly earned its reputation as one of the greatest cities in the world. Living here gives you access to countless cultural experiences, career opportunities, entertainment, and plenty more.
That’s not to say living in a busy city is always easy. On the contrary, many find certain aspects of city life contribute to anxiety and/or depression.
It’s important for New Yorkers to know how they can guard against these consequences. If you’re worried about an urban lifestyle taking a toll on your mental health, keep the following tips in mind.
Focus on (Healthy!) Relaxation Techniques
Focus on (Healthy!) Relaxation Techniques
Don’t worry if you feel more vulnerable to mental health conditions living in a city. You’re not alone. Researchers have found people living in cities are more likely than others to develop anxiety or depression.
This is due to the constant stimulation city life naturally involves. Just think about what you experience walking through Midtown. The barrage of sights and sounds puts the brain and body in constant “fight or flight” mode. Over time, this makes the average person’s brain less able to cope with stress.
Thus, it’s crucial that you find ways to relax and tune out the endless stimulation of the city. Just remember to find healthy methods of doing so! Abusing substances to handle stress won’t benefit your mental health in the long run.
Instead, consider taking up mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. You might want to take up an exercise routine as well. Working out also promotes relaxation.
This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Not all relaxation techniques need to involve work. If you find yourself feeling much more relaxed and rejuvenated after a massage, try to schedule one regularly. What’s most important to remember is that finding healthy ways to wind down is key to staying mentally well in a stimulating environment such as NYC.
Spend Time with Others
Living in a city naturally involves being surrounded by other people. Thus, it’s somewhat ironic that when surveyed, city-dwellers often report struggling with loneliness. That can lead to anxiety and depression.
Experts believe this may be a result of the lack of connection some feel in places like New York. Yes, when walking through Times Square, you’re surrounded by so many people you can barely move, but you’re not genuinely engaging with them.
That’s why finding ways to spend genuinely valuable time with others is smart. People who lack active social lives often develop both mental and physical health conditions as a result.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to already have a decent number of friends or family members living nearby. If so, make a point of spending time with them more often.
If not, you’re still lucky enough to live in a city of millions. There are plenty of New Yorkers, and they all have wide-ranging interests. You can definitely find people who share your own.
Perhaps you’ll go about this independently. If you like music, you might go out to local venues regularly, striking up conversations until you have a network of friends with whom you can socialize on a regular basis.
No worries if you’re not as comfortable putting yourself out there. There are also plenty of meet-up groups in this city designed specifically to help people with similar interests meet friends. Joining one may be a less intimidating alternative if you struggle with social anxiety. Either way, it’s important to avoid loneliness in a city where it’s a common problem.
Maintain Your Living Space with Mental Health in Mind
Again, people in cities often struggle with depression and anxiety because they spend their days in constantly stimulating environments.
You can’t entirely control this. There’s no switch you can flip to make NYC go quiet when you need a break. However, you can exercise at least some degree of control over your living space.
Experts recommend that city-dwellers reduce constant noise in their apartments by ensuring the TV (or radio, or any other sound-generating device) isn’t always on. This is key to giving your senses a break. Additionally, for urban citizens who live near major roadways, they suggest keeping windows closed and investing in an air filtration system to combat the effects of pollution.
You might also install blackout curtains and use a white noise maker to help yourself get to sleep. Perhaps you’ll decorate your apartment with scenes of nature, which have been shown to improve a person’s mood. It’s also a good idea to maintain a clean apartment; people tend to be happier and calmer in clean environments.
All this said, you also need to remember that anxiety and depression are genuine mental health issues. These tips will certainly help any New Yorker avoid them. However, if you are struggling, get in touch with a professional. They can help you thoroughly work through these problems. Get started by scheduling a consultation with Therapy24x7 today.