Psychological Impacts of City Life

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/01/04/how_the_city_hurts_your_brain/?page=1

Inspired from reading Desert Solitaire, I came across an article discussing how the urban life can affect your overall mental health and abilities. Jonah Lehrer begins by pointing out the culture and opportunities that the city life can provide for us. Lehrer discusses how these opportunities and cultural aspects help stimulate our minds and always keep us busy and yet, can have a very negative impact on our well-being. According to the article, there is scientific data that links the busy lifestyles and crowded areas to our ability to memorize and control our actions and words.

Lehrer reports that studies show that views of trees and grass are ways to relax our stressed out and busy minds. He gives us the example of hospital patients viewing trees from their windows and women in small apartments looking at the grassy yards outside. It is refreshing to look at peaks of nature after seeing so many buildings and people all over the place. It is really interesting that just like how books like Desert Solitaire and Walden are supported by the data expressed in this article. Both works pretty much discuss how we rely too much on mainstream culture and luxuries to determine our abilities and this article brings up that we had been degraded from intelligent, organized creatures to merely animals packed into cities.

The cities contain so many distractions that it decreases our ability to pay attention. From the busy traffic to the flashing lights, we do not really know what to focus on more. These same distractions also make us lose our self control. As we walk through the city, we see opportunities to buy stuff including food, clothes or other material possessions. The overload of noise and busy life can make us more emotional and more aggravated.

Hopefully we will be able to find solutions that will adjust ourselves to converting back to the old ways, when we knew how to use our abilities to its fullest extents and not just settling for what is there.

Amanda

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