How to survive stress and keep your mind healthy in the city

our environment is the place where we are raised, we educate our children, we grow and develop.

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survive stress

Large cities have numerous advantages, among which stand out that they have the best health, educational, cultural and leisure services. Not to mention that the vast majority of employment generated is done in urban settings. But not everything is advantages: some experts point out that cities increase mental health risks.

The idea is not new. Scientists have been delving into it for decades, ever since a 1930 study pointed out that living in a city increases the risk of psychosis. The list of life-related mental illnesses in densely populated and all too often polluted and noisy population centers has continued to grow ever since. Depression and anxiety are among them. Scientists are still looking for definitive evidence linking the emergence of some of these diseases to the urban environment, but there is no doubt that those who live in the city are exposed to factors that can alter their mental balance, even if only temporarily. Fortunately, there are ways to survive the impact of the asphalt jungle.

Smoke and noise measures

A great enemy of the urbanite’s emotional balance is pollution, both in its atmospheric and acoustic versions. According to the psychiatrist at the La Luz Hospital José Luis Pedreira, noise “increases irritability and excitability, which increases tension and produces what is usually called stress. The individual’s response can range from aggressive discharges to situations of psychomotor hyperactivity or anxiety reactions, accompanied by sleep disorders, ” The latter causes” an alteration in both reconciliation and quality, making it lighter, with more frequent night awakenings, “says Pedreira. Of course, noise can cause damage to the inner ear.

With these risks in mind, the psychiatrist points out some of the tools available to protect us from these threats. For example, in the case of noise pollution, it suggests soundproofing homes and using earplugs or headphones that isolate from noise. Of course, trying to use headphones that mask annoying sounds with music can be expensive, since the volume of noise to which we are subjected ends up being greater. The best thing in these cases is to follow the WHO recommendations to listen to music without losing hearing.

As for how to cope with the effects of pollution, the expert proposes to clean with moistened mops, reduce the use of heating, increase regular exits to less polluted places and use masks to travel on the streets. However, it is important to note that the use of masks to filter the air we breathe will not prevent exposure to environmental pollution; According to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the best commercial mask for cyclists barely protects against 50% of contaminating particles.

A solution as old as it is bold: take care of your neighbor

Professor of psychology at the European University of Madrid Rubén García sees in social commitment the key to creating an environment conducive to mental health. For García, “our environment is the place where we are raised, we educate our children, we grow and develop. The task, in this sense, would be to weave relationships of mutual care in which the well-being, respect and growth of in a sustainable and egalitarian way. Our emotional balance depends, to a large extent, on whether we carry out this idea. ” To achieve this, García encourages participation in our community to make living spaces healthier.

An interesting proof that engaging with others is beneficial to mental health is in initiatives related to older people. It is enough to know some testimonies to understand that cultivating social relationships improves emotional well-being, which is a purpose that can make you happier. It is important to make an effort in this because, ironically, life in the city can make it difficult for you, even though cities are the main meeting points for people.

Against stress, take a few dances

Faced with the mutual care that García Sánchez proposes, the psychologist and managing partner of Somos Psicólogos y Formación, Beatriz González, suggests looking for time for yourself and doing leisure activities with which to enjoy, since “that helps to disconnect from daily tension and to find ourselves stronger in the face of stressors and generators of anxiety and depression. ” The main idea of ​​the message is to take advantage of those moments to recover energy and get to know yourself. Among the most suitable activities, the psychologist highlights hiking, yoga and dancing.

The latter is especially interesting in the case of older people, since “with this type of activity, in addition to being distracted, they exercise the muscles. And if you do not want to go to dance classes, an alternative may be to perform movements or exercises at home, playing music to make it more enjoyable, “says Sánchez. Now, completing our agenda with activities can saturate it, turning an activity that should be pleasant into a trigger for anxiety, a word that we should not use lightly. That is why García Sánchez urges “to learn to say no, and to select the social, professional and family events that come our way on a daily basis. It is better not to schedule many activities and leave time for yourself.”

survive stress

Another essential activity to release the body from the tension of life in the city is as simple as taking a walk. It does not always have to be in a green area, but the influence of vegetation on health is undeniable, so much so that living less than 300 meters from a park has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. The conclusions a recent study by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health invites us to think that, if the habit is good in adults, it is even more so in children. According to the study, children who grow up in contact with green spaces show lower levels of nervousness and depression as adults, as well as greater vitality.

Meditate in the morning and pick you up surrounded by candles?

After a break of no less than 7 hours, González recommends doing a little meditation as soon as you wake up. Although it will not take you more than 10 minutes, try to get up early, so as not to rush. If you are not a regular practitioner, do not worry, you can find “express” meditation techniques on the internet to guide you in the exercise. You can alternate this practice with conscious breathing exercises. Of course, keep in mind that the mindfulness has its shadows.

The mindfulness will not solucionarte problems but it can teach useful techniques for managing difficult situations. And psychology offers other ways to lower stress. For example, those based on acceptance and commitment. These resources are used to detect when stress begins to take its toll on us and to be able to get away from our emotions and thoughts, at least enough to be aware that we can control them … and get to control them. Of course, as explained to BUENAVIDA the professor emeritus of the Department of Biological and Health Psychology of the Autonomous University of Madrid, Bernardo Moreno, ” they cannot continuously solve problems. If you have to resort to them constantly, it is because the underlying stress is not resolved “

Large cities have numerous advantages, among which stand out that they have the best health, educational, cultural and leisure services. Not to mention that the vast majority of employment generated is done in urban settings. But not everything is advantages: some experts point out that cities increase mental health risks.

The idea is not new. Scientists have been delving into it for decades, ever since a 1930 study pointed out that living in a city increases the risk of psychosis. The list of life-related mental illnesses in densely populated and all too often polluted and noisy population centers has continued to grow ever since. Depression and anxiety are among them. Scientists are still looking for definitive evidence linking the emergence of some of these diseases to the urban environment, but there is no doubt that those who live in the city are exposed to factors that can alter their mental balance, even if only temporarily. Fortunately, there are ways to survive the impact of the asphalt jungle.

Smoke and noise measures

A great enemy of the urbanite’s emotional balance is pollution, both in its atmospheric and acoustic versions. According to the psychiatrist at the La Luz Hospital José Luis Pedreira, noise “increases irritability and excitability, which increases tension and produces what is usually called stress. The individual’s response can range from aggressive discharges to situations of psychomotor hyperactivity or anxiety reactions, accompanied by sleep disorders, ” The latter causes” an alteration in both reconciliation and quality, making it lighter, with more frequent night awakenings, “says Pedreira. Of course, noise can cause damage to the inner ear.

With these risks in mind, the psychiatrist points out some of the tools available to protect us from these threats. For example, in the case of noise pollution, it suggests soundproofing homes, and using ear plugs or headphones that isolate from noise. Of course, trying to use headphones that mask annoying sounds with music can be expensive, since the volume of noise to which we are subjected ends up being greater. The best thing in these cases is to follow the WHO recommendations to listen to music without losing hearing.

As for how to cope with the effects of pollution, the expert proposes to clean with moistened mops, reduce the use of heating, increase regular exits to less polluted places and use masks to travel on the streets. However, it is important to note that the use of masks to filter the air we breathe will not prevent exposure to environmental pollution; According to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the best commercial mask for cyclists barely protects against 50% of contaminating particles.

A solution as old as it is bold: take care of your neighbor

Professor of psychology at the European University of Madrid Rubén García sees in social commitment the key to creating an environment conducive to mental health. For García, “our environment is the place where we are raised, we educate our children, we grow and develop. The task, in this sense, would be to weave relationships of mutual care in which the well-being, respect and growth of in a sustainable and egalitarian way. Our emotional balance depends, to a large extent, on whether we carry out this idea. ” To achieve this, García encourages participation in our community to make living spaces healthier.

An interesting proof that engaging with others is beneficial to mental health is in initiatives related to older people. It is enough to know some testimonies to understand that cultivating social relationships improves emotional well-being, which is a purpose that can make you happier. It is important to make an effort in this because, ironically, life in the city can make it difficult for you, even though cities are the main meeting points for people.

Against stress, take a few dances

Faced with the mutual care that García Sánchez proposes, the psychologist and managing partner of Somos Psicólogos y Formación, Beatriz González, suggests looking for time for yourself and doing leisure activities with which to enjoy, since “that helps to disconnect from daily tension and to find ourselves stronger in the face of stressors and generators of anxiety and depression. ” The main idea of ​​the message is to take advantage of those moments to recover energy and get to know yourself. Among the most suitable activities, the psychologist highlights hiking, yoga and dancing.

The latter is especially interesting in the case of older people, since “with this type of activity, in addition to being distracted, they exercise the muscles. And if you do not want to go to dance classes, an alternative may be to perform movements or exercises at home, playing music to make it more enjoyable, “says Sánchez. Now, completing our agenda with activities can saturate it, turning an activity that should be pleasant into a trigger for anxiety, a word that we should not use lightly. That is why García Sánchez urges “to learn to say no, and to select the social, professional and family events that come our way on a daily basis. It is better not to schedule many activities and leave time for yourself.”

Another essential activity to release the body from the tension of life in the city is as simple as taking a walk. It does not always have to be in a green area, but the influence of vegetation on health is undeniable, so much so that living less than 300 meters from a park has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. The conclusions a recent study by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health invites us to think that, if the habit is good in adults, it is even more so in children. According to the study, children who grow up in contact with green spaces show lower levels of nervousness and depression as adults, as well as greater vitality.

Meditate in the morning and pick you up surrounded by candles?

After a break of no less than 7 hours, González recommends doing a little meditation as soon as you wake up. Although it will not take you more than 10 minutes, try to get up early, so as not to rush. If you are not a regular practitioner, do not worry, you can find “express” meditation techniques on the internet to guide you in the exercise. You can alternate this practice with conscious breathing exercises. Of course, keep in mind that the mindfulness has its shadows.

The mindfulness will not solucionarte problems but it can teach useful techniques for managing difficult situations. And psychology offers other ways to lower stress. For example, those based on acceptance and commitment. These resources are used to detect when stress begins to take its toll on us and to be able to get away from our emotions and thoughts, at least enough to be aware that we can control them … and get to control them. Of course, as explained to BUENAVIDA the professor emeritus of the Department of Biological and Health Psychology of the Autonomous University of Madrid, Bernardo Moreno, ” they cannot continuously solve problems. If you have to resort to them constantly, it is because the underlying stress is not resolved “

In any case, when you finish the day the objective is to lower pulsations. For this, the psychologist Beatriz González suggests, first of all, to spend a few minutes to recall the happy experiences. “If we have had them during the day we can recreate ourselves in them, if not, we can evoke past experiences. Remembering these moments will make us renew ourselves,” says the expert, who adds a final proposal to “get vaccinated” against urban stress: “Al to end the day, a good option is to take a bath in a relaxing environment. To do this, use essential oils and aromatic candles. The pleasant smells generate memories and pleasant sensations that produce relaxation, “he concludes.

In any case, when you finish the day the objective is to lower pulsations. For this, the psychologist Beatriz González suggests, first of all, to spend a few minutes to recall the happy experiences. “If we have had them during the day we can recreate ourselves in them, if not, we can evoke past experiences. Remembering these moments will make us renew ourselves,” says the expert, who adds a final proposal to “get vaccinated” against urban stress: “Al to end the day, a good option is to take a bath in a relaxing environment. To do this, use essential oils and aromatic candles. The pleasant smells generate memories and pleasant sensations that produce relaxation, “he concludes.