June 22nd, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Stress and the city: How your brain responds

The people, the traffic, the crime - these are just some reasons why you might feel stressed out while living in a city. And now research backs up that the brain of a city-dweller may respond more strongly to stress than a country-dweller.

The study in the journal Nature also suggests that two brain regions involved with emotion and stress regulation could potentially be harmed by living in a city.

The new research delves into possible biological explanations for why other studies have found a 21% higher risk of anxiety disorders and a 39% increased risk for mood disorders among people who come from cities.

In the first stage of the study, 32 healthy participants did arithmetic tasks under time pressure while researchers examined their brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They found that people who live in cities had increased activity in the amygdala, an almond-shaped region of the brain involved in stress response, compared with those who lived in towns and rural areas.

In a follow-up, 23 participants engaged in slightly different mental tasks and got negative feedback from the experimenters in videos. Here, the study authors found the same pattern in amygdala activity among people who lived in cities. At the same time, people who had grown up in cities often showed activity in the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex - a major player in stress regulation. Study authors then looked at 24 people who mostly resided in towns and rural areas, who did not show these stress responses. (This sample size is considered respectable in the brain imaging world).

The brain regions identified here have long been known to activate under stressful conditions, but this is the first evidence that city living can make you respond to stress more, said David Knight, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who was not involved in the study.

More research needs to be done to determine whether these brain responses among people who live in cities, or grew up in them, are actually good or bad for you, Knight said.

This study did not directly address how long you have to live in a city to have these effects, or how much vacation time the test subjects take away from busier environments.

There's good evidence that too much stress can harm the brain, Knight said. On the other hand, if you're in a place where you need to react more quickly and vigorously to potential threats, the stress response could be beneficial.

"Maybe just being in a busier environment, things that are stressful are the ones that need to be prioritized. So your brain responds more to stressful events so that you prioritize them more," he said.

soundoff (900 Responses)
  1. Natashia Einfeldt

    That stated, we are in a fantastic state of mind today. All set to put our ' view savant' qualifications on the line and also get hold of the bull by the horns.


    June 7, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    Your style is unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.


    June 7, 2021 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Norris Sommerfield

    You can certainly see your expertise within the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.


    June 7, 2021 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 먹튀검증

    I was able to find good advice from your blog articles.


    June 7, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 청주출장후불

    Hello there! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.


    June 7, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Scrap Dealers in Chennai


    June 7, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. drone repair orange county

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal blog and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Thank you!


    June 8, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 부산출장안마

    I absolutely love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím looking to create my own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Thank you!


    June 8, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Trista Tedesko

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I'll definitely be back.


    June 8, 2021 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv technician near me

    Hi there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have got here on this post. I'll be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 8, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Refrigerator Orange County


    June 8, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. best rv repair near me

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this information.


    June 8, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 청주출장마사지

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 8, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tyron Gestes

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks a lot!


    June 8, 2021 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 청주출장

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.


    June 8, 2021 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mckinley Bredernitz

    I discovered your blog website on google and check just a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I just further up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking for ahead to reading more from you later on!…


    June 9, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 청주출장마사지

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 9, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dan Kotonski

    This is very fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for in quest of more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!


    June 9, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. mobile rv repair orange county ca


    June 9, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Upholstery Los Angeles

    You are so interesting! I do not suppose I've read a single thing like that before. So nice to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the web, someone with a little originality!


    June 9, 2021 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. bet888

    Thẳng Soccertrực tiếp copa america 2019Trên băng ghế giảng dạy, Lebanon đã bổ nhiệm Ramiro Lopez cơ hội đây 3 tuần. Nhà cầm cố quân nhân viên Tây Ban Nha công ty yếu ớt thực hiện việc trên Ý và từng có thời gian thực hiện việc tại Kuwait.|Và NHM bóng đá Việt Nam đang chờ Minh Trí cùng đồng đội hóa giải đối thủ để tạo lợi thế đến trận lượt về tại đây hai ngày. Chelsea đã cần trải qua 8 phút bù giờ khó thở bảo đảm an toàn chiến thắng.


    June 9, 2021 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Eliseo Mederos

    My brother suggested I may like this blog. He was once totally right. This put up actually made my day. You cann't believe just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!


    June 9, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Market

    Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


    June 9, 2021 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Valda Sisavath

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your web site.


    June 9, 2021 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sebrina Dietzel


    June 9, 2021 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Glennie Mccleod

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I really thought you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    June 9, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Content Marketing Near Me


    June 9, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Teresia Kalama

    I have read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you put to create the sort of excellent informative web site.


    June 9, 2021 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Reuben Dietrick

    Hello there, I believe your web site could be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!


    June 9, 2021 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Neil Buitrago

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange contract between us!


    June 10, 2021 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Eduardo Ciuffreda

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉

    June 10, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Yang Wiersema

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss such issues. To the next! Many thanks!!


    June 10, 2021 at 04:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv repair shops


    June 10, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Beverley Arcino

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.


    June 10, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Oretha Lapeyrouse

    Great post. I will be experiencing some of these issues as well..


    June 10, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 울산 출장안마

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 10, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Marc Biele

    Thanks for every other informative website. Where else could I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I have a challenge that I'm simply now operating on, and I've been at the glance out for such information.


    June 10, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Darrin Lorick

    I am not sure where you're getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information for my mission.


    June 10, 2021 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. xoilac

    Thẳng Soccer Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Coi Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt Namdoc bao bong daTrên băng ghế huấn luyện, Lebanon đã bổ nhiệm Ramiro Lopez cách đây 3 tuần. Nhà cầm quân người Tây Ban Nha công ty yếu đuối làm việc tại Ý và từng có thời hạn làm việc tại Kuwait.|Và NHM bóng đá Việt Nam đang được đợi Minh Trí cùng đồng đội hóa giải đối thủ để tạo lợi thế mang đến trận lượt về tại đây hai ngày. Chelsea đã cần trải qua 8 phút bù giờ khó thở đảm bảo thành công.


    June 10, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Dario Oftedahl


    June 10, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. rv repair service near me


    June 10, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Perry Tomko

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!


    June 10, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 울산출장안마

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!


    June 10, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 울산 출장마사지

    After looking over a number of the blog posts on your blog, I honestly like your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website as well and let me know how you feel.


    June 10, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Milo Znidarsic


    June 10, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 울산 출장안마

    Howdy! This article could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 10, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Clayton Zart

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Many thanks!


    June 11, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv repair shop near me


    June 11, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Taylor Cazel


    June 11, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Sam Dillman

    This excellent website truly has all of the info I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    June 11, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

June 2011
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.