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Three ways to improve the mental health of city-dwellers

Living in the city can be one of the most exciting things you ever do; the inexhaustible lives, the unsleeping streets, the breath-taking skylines. But for all its beauty and bustling potential, city living also carries with it an assortment of pressures that can prove difficult and even damaging to your mental health. For example, […]


Living in the city can be one of the most exciting things you ever do; the inexhaustible lives, the unsleeping streets, the breath-taking skylines. But for all its beauty and bustling potential, city living also carries with it an assortment of pressures that can prove difficult and even damaging to your mental health. For example, having lived in a city, the vast possibilities of random, passionate encounters can seem impossible with the wrong mindset. Similarly to the blinders they use to focus racehorses, people in the city can be easily wrapped up in their own worlds to such an extent that no one else’s matter or can be factored in. City-dwellers live at such a pace that I often wonder whether they are turning the world themselves, like hamsters on some cosmic treadmill. This can make the city, although surely filled with hundreds of like-minded people, feel like a very lonely place. Below are three tips for keeping your mental health in check whilst in the city, protecting yourself from its pressures so as to enjoy its endless potential.

Wander

People can become too obsessed with getting from ‘a’ to ‘b’ without taking the time to enjoy or take in their surroundings. Have stroll through your city, go somewhere you haven’t been before, take your headphones out and keep your phone in your pocket. Hear the sounds of the city and see what it has to offer beyond the virtual realms of internet suggestions. It’s also good for your mental state to get exercise, so a nice stroll might be more beneficial than you might think.

Avoid rush hours

If you work in the city it may be difficult to avoid rush hours all the time, but where possible try to take quieter trains or head out in the afternoon, you might find that the sudden space you get on the streets feels as though there’s more oxygen to breathe. It also makes any travelling infinitely nicer. You might actually start to appreciate the efficiency of smart city transport instead of just cursing the crushed carriages of commuters.

Explore your hobbies or create some
When I moved to the city, the realised that as many hobbies as I might have had, meeting other people who share those interests can be hard. While creative pursuits can be rewarding in their own way, I don’t think they alone lend themselves particularly well to mental health as they are introspective and solitary. Active hobbies, even if you have traditionally not been a fan, are a great way of improving your mental state as exercise not only releases endorphins but will enable you meet new people. Plus, physical tiredness can quiet the mind. One way you can do this is by researching organisations online, one that I found in south-west London allowed young men and women of all abilities to register their details and book on to various five-a-side football games, without the need to organise an entire team yourself. This isn’t to say you need to kill yourself with cardio exercise, there are plenty of low-impact activities you can try to achieve the same effect.

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