How to stop city life from stressing you out

Editor’s Note: Vital Signs is a monthly program bringing viewers health stories from around the world.

Story highlights

Studies show that city dwellers are more likely to suffer from anxiety and mood disorders

Enjoying green spaces, awareness of your environment and walking to work could help reduce stress

CNN  — 

Stand-still traffic, air pollution, crowded streets, endless gray sidewalks. Sound familiar?

This is just a glimpse of what life can be like when living in a big city, so it comes as no surprise that people regularly get stressed out. But the problem may go deeper.

Some studies have shown that city dwellers may have a 21% greater likelihood of developing anxiety disorders, and a 39% increased risk of mood disorders, compared to people living more rurally.

Given that 66% of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities by 2050, the impact of urban life on mental health has become more important than ever.

“City living affects the way our brains deal with stress,” said Dr. Mazda Adli, head of the Fliedner Clinic and a stress researcher at Charité hospital in Berlin.