Is it Healthier to Live in the City or the Country?
By Sara Novak, Planet Green
Carrie Bradshaw and the rest of the crew from Sex and the City couldn’t imagine a life outside of Manhattan. In fact, they saw no purpose for leaving and rarely did. Urbanites often can’t imagine a life outside of all the glamour of the city. But rural dwellers feel the same. The idea of leaving the peace and quiet of the country and moving to a place of claustrophobia and high rent seems painful.
I find perks on both sides of the aisle so to speak. I grew up in Charlottesville, VA on acres of woods, undisturbed by neighbors. But later on I lived in the heart of DC, enjoying the benefits of public transportation and nightly events. But researchers have recently highlighted that green space and rural living in general is better for your health.
A recent article in Natural News pointed to research which says that city life contributes to a host of health problems while rural life does the opposite. Living with plenty of green space contributes to a longer, healthier life. Scientists pointed to issues of depression and schizophrenia as well as anxiety, other mood disorders and stress.
The results showed that we like our space and the more cramped we are, the more problems we have.
According to Natural News:
“Previous findings have shown that the risk for anxiety disorders is 21 percent higher for people from the city, who also have a 39 percent increase for mood disorders,” said Dr. Jens Pruessner of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Quebec, who helped conduct the study.
More specifically, “the study found that the region of the brain – the amygdala, which involves mood and emotions – was much more active in city dwellers.” The reduced stress in those living in the country could have been due to more active cingulate cortexes, the part of the brain that reduces stress.
Part of this is understandable. Living in a larger city means constant stimulation. It means that the nervous system is going a mile a minute just to keep up with its surrounding. In the caveman days stress was a good thing. It served to keep us alive. We felt anxious when a lion was on our tracks waiting for dinner or when the weather was hot and we hadn’t seen water in days. But today, too much stress can do serious damage to our mental state which can lead to so many other health problems.
But whether you live in the city or the country, itís your ability to manage stress that holds the key to your health. My uncle is a farmer from a town of 1,000 and he’s always stressed out worrying about the weather and his crops. The point is–take an aerial view of your life and be an onlooker to the anxieties that plague you. Realize that in the scheme of things, they’re often no big deal at all. If you’re having trouble managing stress overtime you could do real damage. As for the incidence schizophrenia, I have no idea where that plays into the picture or whether it is dependent on stress.
If you can’t seem to decompress, green space can help. Take the time to reconnect to nature whether that’s in Central Park or Montana.