My wife and I often speak to each other as well as family members and friends about reducing significant levels of stress by decreasing our access to the meaningless, countless demands and strains placed on us by society. We like the term “homesteading“. Our own teachers speak endlessly about leaving the mundane, stressful, distractions behind. They also teach about and lead lives of austerity and asceticism, spending more and more time away from the hustle and bustle of large cities and urban lifestyles.
What does living in urban areas mean for African-Americans today and what shock & awe might develop as a result of going off the grid? How might they, or anyone in the modern U.S. benefit from less Kim Kardashian, less Andersen Cooper, less smog, less Internet, less chatter, complaining, posturing and bickering on social media, less TV and on and on and on…
Think about it this way. Seeing Kim in her glamour either challenges our moral fortitude or maybe our sexual aptitude. Either way, it’s a biopsychosocial stressor. Andersen Cooper does the same, well for some anyway, and also impresses on our mind that every news topic he discusses must be the most important topic of our day. Here we have another biopsychosocial stressor. The smog presents an obvious biopsychsocial stressor. Try telling anyone with any respiratory problem that smog isn’t an issue. And lastly, for now, the Internet stands to challenge everything we hold dear, from our own self-image to the use of and lack of personal time. Can you say biopsychosocial stressor? At every turn it seems we’re being drowned by the sea of society and shackled by industrialized modernity.
Though the majority of African-Americans still live below the Mason-Dixon line, they have chosen to cluster in urban areas with the hope of attaining all things grand. But is that really what’s happening?
Check out the findings from a study conducted at the Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg/Medical Faculty Mannheim, 68159 Mannheim, Germany:
“There are higher concentrations of psychiatric illnesses in the city than in the country. There is increased risk for anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia. Of course, there are lots of possible reasons for this. There is a greater socioeconomic divide in cities, and people of low socio-economic class have a higher risk for psychiatric disease. There is also better access to health care in cities, and someone who might pass as just “very odd” in the country is more likely to get diagnosed in the city. Finally, it is often easier to function in a city with a severe mental illness, with some better access to shelter, care, and emergency medicine. But there is also some evidence that living in a city can “bring on” mental disorders. While many mental disorders are thought to have a genetic component to some degree, the addition of stress may be able to bring out an underlying mental illness. And of course, cities are stressful. Specifically, cities produce social stress, the stress of living around and being seen (or feeling you’re being seen) by lots of people, constantly.”
There are also heavy correlations between residence and stress. Daily hassles impact our levels of stress and urban areas bring about higher levels of it. Depression has also been found to be higher in urban areas in contradistinction to rural environments.
In a series of functional magnetic resonance experiments researchers showed that city living was associated with greater stress responses in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved with emotional regulation and mood. There is more and more evidence supporting a strong shift away from urban living and desensitization. In fact, there is so much evidence today in 2013 that I need not bother posting anymore! A quick Google search is enough to feed your need but if you insist, take a look at the vast majority of psychological and medical journals on this topic and ask yourself, “Why are all the black people trying to live together? ala “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” The same logic applies to our choice to live in urban areas and it’s keeping/making us sick.