Integrative Nutrition Blog

Stress in the City: Urban living proves more nerve-racking

July 5, 2011

Everybody deals with stress differently, but new evidence suggests that whether you're a city mouse or a country mouse plays a big role in how you cope with life's curveballs.

The study, reported on in Time Magazine, revealed that people who live in a city have a more sensitive response to stress. Compared to country-dwellers, city folk have greater activity in the amygdala region of the brain, which translates into being quicker to respond with fear or anxiety when confronted with a stressful situation.

Furthermore, the person’s amygdala activity strengthens in correlation to the population density of their city – so the larger the city, the greater the stress response.

That's not all the researchers found, though. The data also indicated that people who lived in a city before they were 15 had greater activity in an even larger area of the brain, the anterior cingulate, which more globally regulates stress responses. The greater activity seems to be a permanent development, regardless of whether the person continued to live in a city past their developmental years.

So what is a dedicated urbanite to do? The important thing is to compensate for the abundant stimuli and harried pace of life with plenty of downtime.

Maybe try a few of these tips from our friends on our Are You IIN? Facebook page, or try "Meditation in a Moment" with this video!

Do you live in a city or the country? Do you think your environment affects how you cope with stress?

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