The tempo of life has changed radically for present-day man. Unlike our ancestors, we no longer rise with the sun, nor do we go to bed at sunset. Instead of birdsong we listen to the rumble of highways and the hum of equipment; instead of a stroll through the woods we ride in overcrowded subways or stand still in traffic jams; instead of the waving fields we contemplate insistent advertisement; instead of unhurried communal singing, we take part in social media bickering with virtual strangers.
Most people in a megacity (a city with population of at least 10 million) have no personal space. Not only in the street or when using public transportation, but in the office as well, we are too close to others too often. At home we can hear our neighbors even at night: a TV or an audio system, loud voices or the sound of an elevator, the beeping of someone else’s alarm clock or the ever-present sound of a smart phone does not let nearly all those living in a high-rise rest in peace and quiet.
Of course, such unnatural existence must have negative impact on a person’s health. Chronic lack of sleep and insomnia, constant fatigue and irritation, apathy and depression, psycho-somatic diseases and weakened immune system are constant companions of a typical city-dweller.
The basic emotion for most of those living in a megacity is worry. The human body was not originally meant for such psychic pressure: there are too many negative news in the media; there is a socially promoted need to constantly monitor the Internet and to keep checking your e-mail; there are endless responsibilities and fear to miss deadlines; there is daily risk of accidents or of becoming a crime victim; there are internal and external conflicts and relationship problems, all of which gradually deplete our psychic resources and lead to nervous breakdowns.
Parents worrying about their children (are they safe? are they healthy? are they staying out of trouble?) are even more susceptible to stress factors.
The negative impact of these factors on the psyche of a city-dweller is intensified by the artificial cult of the positive, promoted by the society. Today, our surroundings demand success and achievements. From the psychological point of view, the super-hero type that is presented looks like someone with a manic syndrome: they are always in a super good mood, they have no problems, they hardly need any sleep, they gesticulate wildly and are always in motion, they talk a lot and loudly, they are always surrounded by lots people and they are tireless.
We are required to react quickly to unpredictably changing circumstances. We must be able to multi-task, be always on the alert, and demonstrate high efficiency and performance.
Naturally, a healthy individual cannot keep up with such tempo without stimulants – a human body is not meant to keep going without a break and needs to alternate activity with rest and relaxation, as well as a variety of emotions, not just positive ones. However, attempts to perk up the body with various stimulants starting with coffee and going all the way to drugs, lead to a significant decline in health.
Simple human relations disappear – we only spend time with those who will be “useful” to us, those who enjoy high social status or power or those who belong to the elite or the rich. Often enough we begin to look down not only on our old “failure” friends, but also on our own parents, and neglect them. Breaking social ties with our family, we lose the support of those who are close to us and instead take part in the “rat race” trying to outdo those around us.
Many have no time for leisurely conversation – everyone rushes around: to be the first or the best, to live in overdrive. The depth of relationships or emotions gives way to light and shallow connections. Instead of waiting for “love to the death” there is a “start a family project” to show off social competence. For many of those who live in a megacity, the family is no longer a safehaven, but a made-up image to be displayed on social media.
Naturally, when a normal person attempts to always control the situation and demonstrate only the positive successful image, it leads to depression and chronic fatigue. It is not possible to control everything and it is unrealistic never to relax – the body “burns out” and the beautiful picture of “success,” attained by depleting health reserves and overtaxing psychic endurance, quickly falls apart.
The body, worn out by the endless race, presents the person with various symptoms: obsessions, irrational fears, constant worry about lack of information with actual information overflow, depressions and “unprovoked” nervous break-downs.
For those who live in a city, neurosis (a reversible psychogenic functional disorder, with a tendency to run a protracted course) often appears as sleep or appetite deficiency, lingering decline in performance, chronic fatigue or general weakness, frequent cold-related diseases or a number of chronic diseases.
What does a person usually do in that case? Instead of accepting the limitations of their own capabilities and the actual unfeasibility of keeping up that way of life for a long time without a break, people hope to solve their psychological problems by using medications. Unfortunately, taking prescribed anti-depressants only takes away the feelings of frustration and despair that a person has as a result of depleting their nervous system, for a short time and does not radically solve health problems.
What can you do if you find you have similar symptoms?
1. Acknowledge that what you have is not simply tiredness that is easy to take care of by a short rest, but a functional disorder, in other words – an illness that appears in response to pathogenic factors of normal daily living.
2. Schedule a medical check-up and consult a physician.
3. Change your daily routine – allow yourself more rest and less work. Try to sleep at least 9-10 hours every day. If you have a chance, take a nap during the day for at least half hour to an hour.
4. Adjust your diet. You need to drink at least one and one half to two liters of clear water every day and eat more vegetables and fruit. Get rid of tea, coffee and alcohol; drink freshly squeezed juice, fruit-drinks and “green cocktails.” Make yourself calming tea instead of reaching for an energy drink.
5. You must take a poly-vitamin and mineral complex every day. Also, you should buy Omega 3 (fish oil) and take an adult dose daily – 800-1000 mg. You also need additional folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
6. Find a good massage therapist and have a 15-session general body massage treatment. Stop for 2-3 months and then repeat the treatment.
7. Spend more time outside, whether in a park or away from the city. Daily physical exercises are very welcome – jogging, walking, biking or swimming. Try to be out-of-doors in daylight.
8. Ask your loved ones for help directly. Explain the reasons for neurosis to them and justify the need for their support to restore your psychical balance in order to have an opportunity to treat your illness.
9. Contact a good psychologist or psychiatrist with the objective of changing your mental state. If consultations take too much travel time or cost too much, you may be able to work effectively with an out-of-city or out-of-country specialist over Skype.
10. Stop pursuing achievements and relax. Right now, your health should be much more important to you than “success”. Think about it; it may be a good idea for you to move to a small town or at least a smaller city where you will be calmer while you are receiving treatment.
Do these ten things and it will work out for you.