Whether you have been living in a big city for several years or maybe you are thinking about moving to one, then some of the questions you might ask yourself are: "How stressful is it to live in a big city?” or "How damaging might this stress be to my health" and "What can I do about it?"

Lets have a look at what is typically causing you stress when you live in a big city:

1. First of all, you have the fact that you will have to share a small amount of space with a lot of other people. Hundreds of people might live in the same tower block of flats that you might live in. They will use the transport systems that you use for work. And even in the supermarket where you buy your food, and it is very stressful.

2. There is a fast pace of life in a big city and everyone seems to walk faster, act quicker and even talk without a pause, using loads of abbreviations and in short sentences. If you are thinking of moving, compare this to the life you might currently be living in smaller town or a village.

3. Significantly higher levels of air pollution. You might not realise this, but the air pollution from the constant traffic and factories that run 24/7 do cause stress to your internal body organs and this can quickly show its effects to your skin and hair! This means that over a longer period of time, your body absorbs more pollution and this toxicity can cause more serious health problems that then add to your overall stress load.

4. The same can be said about the electro-magnetic fields that are caused buy the huge use of electricity. Researchers have suggested that these electro-magnetic fields maybe found to be the cause of many health problems such as headaches, digestive problems and even cancers.

5. At times you will feel as if you are being fed too much information or being given too many food choices in the supermarket, and even constant negative news on the display monitors and in the tabloids create a significant amount of stress to thousands of people daily.

6. Traffic, constant traffic. You can become ill not only from the air pollution we mentioned earlier, which is caused by this traffic, the effects of simply being stuck in these traffic jams daily can impact your wellbeing in a negative and a very stressful way.

I am sure that if you think about it, you might come up with another hundred and one reasons of why it is stressful to live in a big city. But the reality is that big cities often have greater opportunities for employment, better salaries and many people consider the move even if they have knowledge about or experience of the stress caused by living in big cities.

So if you are one of these people, what can you do to decrease your own levels of stress caused by living or working in a big city?

1. Look around you more often and shift your attention from place to place. For example, on the public transport network you might find something funny on the advert displays.
Maybe you might see someone dressed unusual or you might hear part of an interesting conversation near you. Discretely watching people and guessing their occupation, their age, or what their family might be like is also a suitable task for this exercise. This type of activity allows your mind to be preoccupied with something interesting in opposed to getting stressed from thinking about something negative (which is what we do most often!).

2. Create the right attitude towards yourself. On one hand you be demanding towards yourself, but on the other hand you need to be a little indulgent as well. 'What do you mean?', I here you ask. It is necessary that you create a good life balance within yourself: love yourself, don't beat yourself up when making mistakes and be a good example for others. Make people feel comfortable when they are with you and have the strength to say 'sorry' if you feel you should.

3. Dress comfortably but smartly. It is easy to pull your old pants on because they are the most comfortable clothes in your wardrobe and go to work in them, but pretend a customer is looking at you and now - do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? It might be a much better option to make an effort when dressing yourself for work and then get compliments from your colleagues!

4. Try to be active and move more often. "Movement is Life" - this is an old Russian proverb that means exactly what it says. Our human bodies like movement. They function at their best when we move throughout the day. So make sure you walk, exercise or dance whenever you can. Particularly if you have an office job where you hardly move all day!

5. Create the best possible conditions for your sleep and plan to sleep 6-8 hours every night. Use earplugs and an eye mask if the noise and light is a problem in your bedroom. Even better than using an eye mask is to hung heavy light-proof ‘black out' curtains or blinds and then eliminate any extra noise as best as you can by closing the windows and doors before you retire.
Avoid watching nerve wrecking movies late at night and don't drink stimulating drinks like tea or coffee late in the evening’. Try replacing these with soothing drinks like chamomile or decaf tea instead.

6. Get outside and see nature and the countryside as often as you can. Walks in nature parks will help to re-ballance and re-energise you. Even if you cannot get out to the countryside, go to the city parks and enjoy watching the birds, enjoy listening to the wind rustling the leaves or the noise from river nearby, and so on. Also, when you walk in the city, try to find those tiny bits of nature whenever you can and pay attention to them too.

7.Finally: Try to distract yourself from the stressful parts of your reality whenever you can: perhaps on the travel system you could read interesting books or watch enjoyable films. Allow yourself something you really like from time to time: whether it is just having an ice cream and going to the movies, or maybe you could book a horse riding lesson or a massage in a spa-salon.

And don't forget to smile no matter what!

Author's Bio: 

Elmira Strange has been studying human behaviour and Psychology for over 10 years. Elmira moved from Russia to United Kingdom in the year of 2000, where she continued her higher education in Psychology and Counselling.

During her studies, Elmira gave several lectures and seminars on the topics of: ‘Attraction and development of relationships’, ‘Dealing with stress and anxiety’, ‘Healthy behaviour’, and so on, and worked as a Clinical Psychologist Assistant and Samaritan while studying.

Currently, Elmira is a member of British Psychological Society and an important link for collaboration between Russian and UK’s Universities.

Please visit her website www.stress-explained.com for more info and other articles on stress-management.