No matter where you live, your mental health should be a priority to you. The more that we learn about mental health, the more we realize just how connected it is to our physical health and just how important the little decisions, thoughts, and feelings that we have throughout the day are to our overall sense of well-being and life satisfaction. When we feel anxious, overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed (or all of those things at once), we are feeling the symptoms of real psychological distress and disorders that can literally make us physically ill and shorten our lives.
But what can we do when it feels like the world around us is out to get us? What can we do when the place we live is part of the problem — but we can’t imagine living anywhere else? That’s what it’s like for New Yorkers, who live in the middle of one of the most wonderful yet stressful places on the planet. When you’re rushing through the streets of Manhattan, you’re smack dab in the middle of the world’s center of gravity — arguably one of the most bustling places on the entire planet.
Yet you’re also in a sea of angry cab drivers and jostling Wall Street traders, in constant danger of getting clipped by some reckless Citi biker or bowled over by a businessman screaming on his smartphone. New York City can really wear on you, which is why we each need to think about — and do something about — the ways in which living and working here can harm our mental health.
What does New York City do to your mental health?
It’s not always pleasant to think about what living in New York City actually does to our minds, but it’s important to lay out the various ways in which it can hurt us. Let’s start with New York City’s huge population and often crowded spaces. Studies show that urban life has unique and significant stresses. The crush of crowded subway cars and the grating feeling of large groups can distress us.
And then there are the long hours and brutal commutes that New Yorkers deal with. New York City is the city that never sleeps, but it’s not all partying — most of us are working for far too long every day. New York City workers work longer hours than people anywhere else in the country, on average. That’s impressive, but it’s not always a good thing. Work-life balance is extremely important to your mental health, that that kind of balance is in short supply in NYC.
Fighting for your mental health in New York City
Living in New York City is amazing, but it has its costs. To live our best lives here, we need to be proactive about our mental health. Mental health is important everywhere, but New Yorkers need to be particularly serious about getting the help that they need.
That means that it’s time to look into NYC cognitive therapy. Whether you suffer from an extremely common mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression, have a more serious or rare condition, or consider yourself totally mentally healthy, you owe it to yourself to care for your mind with the help of a trained and licensed therapist. Cognitive therapy isn’t for “crazy” people — it’s for normal people who want to get more out of their lives, their work, and their relationships. It’s about learning how to evaluate our own thinking and make our minds work for us instead of against us. It’s about developing strategies that fight back against creeping depression and anxiety — strategies that will make us happier, healthier, more productive, better partners, and more fun to be around.
You’ll work with your therapist, of course — therapy isn’t just something you “get.” It doesn’t happen “to” you. You participate! And you’ll fight for your mental health all the time: You’ll demand better work-life balance, find your happy places in New York City’s beautiful parks, and work on things such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep schedules, all of which can have a huge impact on your mental health.
But you won’t be in it alone. With the help of a trained therapist, you’ll be better equipped to recognize and do battle with the ways in which this beautiful, awe-inspiring city affects your mental health.