How cities affects our mental health.

I love self- development books, the how-tos and the secret to kind of books, or scientifically proven ways on how to accomplish a certain task books. Just like the one I mentioned in my previous post.

Don’t get me wrong I also love me some good stories, first the logic-oriented books or the ones that introduce you to so many new concepts that make you change the way you think about certain things. I discovered another mind opener book called The courage to be disliked by Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga. The book has so many pieces of wisdom that not only had me rethink my life perspective but also allowed me to put new truths into action. Let me just mentions bits that broadened my thinking:

  • Trauma doesn’t exist, people just choose that kind of life. (yeah right, I was surprised too, sounds victim blaming but he explains his perspective)
  • If we are upset about something its coz of the story, we are telling ourselves about that particular thing.
  • We choose to be unhappy and we are using that particular circumstance to justify that. (happiness is a choice)
  • You are the only one who’s worried about how you look. (people are busy worrying about themselves, what makes you think that they are actively thinking about you?🤡)
  • Choose the best path that you believe in, what kind of judgment that other people pass on that choice, that’s the task of other people and that’s a matter you can’t do anything about it.
  • We should not compliment or insults anyone but only give affirmations.

I think that’s enough to get you reading the book. Just don’t overthink it, and question everything including people that suffer from mental health problems. I don’t know a lot about mental health but what I know is, some mental health problems are a result of both genetic and environmental factors. Read the book with an open mind and take away the good ideas.

Speaking of mental health. How are you feeling today? How’s your mental health? September is National Suicide Prevention Month, I thought I would write about how urban life affects our mental health. The questions of urban living and mental health is a complex issue that’s related to many other interrelated factors. Urban life exerts a huge impact on our wellbeing including mental health. The impacts can either be positive or negative.

Studies show that urban dwellers have a 20% higher risk of developing anxiety disorders and a 40% risk of developing mood disorders. Urban stressors include air and noise pollution, lack of enough greenery, traffic congestion, etc. These challenges are brought by the rapid pace that our cities and towns are growing. (Effects of urbanisation) Social stress is the main factor that causes mental disorders in urban areas. Like living in crowded areas will bring you stress.

The key to improving our wellbeing in urban areas is by making the city more livable and concentrating the city design on Sensory Landscape. By sensory landscape I mean the smelling, hearing, seeing, touching, and even tasting of the city. we often interpret the city through the technical rather than the sensory, yet it is the sensory from which we build feeling and emotion and through which our psychological landscapes are built.

Just differentiate the feeling you have when you walk on Moi Avenue street and the one that’s on Aga khan Walk on a sunny day. Lots of study shows how our interactions with nature improve our state of mind because people tend to be more active in nature and sights sounds and smell of the greenery boosts our mood.

Aga khan walk.Nairobi.

The physical nature of cities also puts a strain on the emotional wellbeing of their inhabitants. When planning new neighbourhoods and refurbishing existing ones we should put in mind phycological health. What if our city planners and designers start their plan with words like beauty, love, happiness, or excitement as opposed to spatial outcomes or ‘planning framework? We need to understand people’s emotions. A lot of us are talking about sustainable development forgetting that cities need to be psychologically and emotionally sustaining. If we are talking about sustainability let it be sustained across a range.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinion on this. Get in Touch!

Edited by Noor

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