Some of you might remember the classic 1960s sitcom “Green Acres.” The theme song to the show may be even more famous than the storyline, with lyrics like “farm livin’ is the life for me,” and “I just adore a penthouse view.”
Green Acres was a comedic take on two people who had completely different tastes when it came to where they wanted to live. While it may have gone to extremes, it wasn’t too far from reality. Some people enjoy the fresh air and quietness of rural areas. Others love the hustle and bustle of big cities.
But, does your preference match up with where you should be living for your mental health?
Determining what is best for your mental state is about much more than country life versus city life. With that in mind, let’s look at how your living environment can impact your mental health. Having a clearer picture of that impact can help you to know if you’re truly living in the right place.
Location, Location, Location
This is more than just a real estate tagline. Your location can be directly connected to your mental health. Location is key to that, and to real estate agents, location is more important than the house itself. Why? Because location accounts for the following:
- Local schools
- Local amenities
- Neighborhood safety
- The structure of your property/apartment
Those are all things to think about when buying a home. But, you also need to think about them when it comes to your mental state. Are you constantly worried about the safety of your children? Are you stressed and anxious about making it to work on time every day due to unruly traffic? Is your neighborhood void of any family-friendly activities or cultural experiences you can be a part of?
Most importantly, do you feel safe?
Think about your current location. Would you consider yourself happy where you are? What are things you’re worried about or things about where you live that regularly bring you down? Having answers to those questions can make the choice to change your environment clearer.
External Factors That Make a Difference
The physical factors of where you live can play a big part in your mental health, too. For example, if you live in a busy, noisy city, your sleep quality might be affected. One of the potential drawbacks of living in an apartment or rented space is that you can’t make many interior changes. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, that can lead to excess stress and anxiety. Try soundproofing your windows to block noise or even light. Another issue could arise if you live in an apartment that isn’t easily accessible and you have physical limitations. Living in a place that makes it difficult to get around can cause you to feel depressed.
Other external factors that can make a difference in your mental health include:
- Weather conditions
- Environmental pollution
- Light pollution
- Cluttered/small spaces
The social factors of your environment can also play a role, especially if you’re living in a big city. Some areas are known for being more dangerous than others. Certain neighborhoods might have a reputation for violence, especially toward particular minority groups.
Alternatively, if you live in a rural area, you might be affected by completely different factors. While open space and quiet surroundings are peaceful to some, others tend to do better when they’re surrounded by more “life.” You might feel safer in a city knowing everything you need is only a few minutes away or knowing that it’s easier to stay in touch with friends and family who live nearby without having to do a lot of travel.
How to Break the Cycle
You don’t have to live in a certain environment just because it’s where you grew up. You don’t have to stay mentally oppressed or put yourself at risk to keep a job, especially not in this highly remote world.
If you truly want to live a happy life and make your mental health a priority, be true to yourself. If you continue to live in an environment that isn’t conducive to your mental health needs, you could be perpetuating a dangerous cycle. For example, experiencing anxiety or depression over where you live could lead to trouble at work or in your relationships. If you lose your job, you might find yourself resenting where you live even more.
And, the cycle continues.
Living in the right environment for a positive mental state is more important than people tend to think. The reality is, however, that there is no one “ideal” environment. Remember, it’s not about what you might think you like better. It’s about what brings you the most contentment, peace, and mental stability. When you finally decide on that and make a move to the right environment, you’ll truly be making your mental health a priority.