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. appliance stores near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It's the little changes that make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 13, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. pet stores near me


    June 13, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Damon Tonnesen

    Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my site so i came to “return the choose”.I'm trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to make use of a few of your ideas!!


    June 13, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bea Krofft

    Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thanks a lot!


    June 14, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. keybank near me

    This excellent website certainly has all the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 14, 2021 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Irma Maker

    Thanks , I've recently been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I've found out so far. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?


    June 14, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jewelers near me


    June 14, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. outback near me


    June 14, 2021 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Minh Muzii

    The very root of your writing while sounding reasonable initially, did not really sit well with me after some time. Someplace within the sentences you actually were able to make me a believer but only for a very short while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in assumptions and you would do nicely to help fill in those breaks. If you can accomplish that, I will definitely be amazed.


    June 14, 2021 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. open restaurants near me

    bookmarked!!, I like your site!


    June 14, 2021 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tora Equils

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually recognise what you're speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also seek advice from my website =). We will have a link alternate arrangement among us!


    June 14, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. metropcs near me

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I really believed you would probably have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 14, 2021 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. animal shelter near me


    June 14, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. panera near me

    There is definately a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all of the points you made.


    June 14, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. aldi near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. best restaurants near me

    I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    June 14, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Nearest RV Repair

    I blog often and I truly appreciate your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    June 14, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Santa Ana


    June 15, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Katina Abbington

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed! Very useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.


    June 15, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 15, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Camper Repairs Near Me

    I like it whenever people get together and share views. Great blog, stick with it!


    June 15, 2021 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repair Shop


    June 15, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Orange County

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own personal blog and want to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!


    June 15, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 파워볼사이트

    You're so interesting! I don't believe I have read through something like this before. So great to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!


    June 15, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Oliver Weintz

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


    June 15, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 파워볼 전용 사이트

    Hi! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after going through many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím certainly happy I came across it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 15, 2021 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    You are so cool! I don't believe I've read through a single thing like that before. So good to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 15, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Camper Repairs Near Me

    This site certainly has all the information I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 15, 2021 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 15, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair


    June 15, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Shop

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he'll have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 15, 2021 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 777.com.vn

    Xoilac Tv Thẳng Bóng Đá ku.ku777Đội tuyển chọn futsal nước Việt Nam đã được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước phe đối lập đầy mức độ mạnh Lebanon. Kết quả Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước thời điểm hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước Việt Nam.


    June 15, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Nearest RV Repair


    June 15, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    June 16, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bulah Hemsworth

    Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!


    June 16, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 16, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Kellee Malsom

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be really one thing which I feel I would never understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I'm looking ahead in your subsequent post, I will try to get the grasp of it!


    June 16, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Marlyn Michal

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!


    June 16, 2021 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. https://philadelphiaweekly.com/10-best-cbd-lubes-to-buy-in-2021/

    I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new weblog.|


    June 16, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repairs Nearby


    June 16, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Afghani Hawaiian Strain

    These nugs are frosty with a fine layer of thick chunky
    white trichomes and are sticky with sweet resin. Afghan Hawaiian is probably
    best known among the cannabis community for its memorable
    aroma of pungent yet sweet earthy cheese and taste of cheesy
    licorice with a surprisingly delicious hint of rich caramel.

    Contact Us
    Phone: +1(402) 478-8204
    EMAIL: sales@420denverweedlane.com

    June 16, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Nearest RV Repair

    I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    June 16, 2021 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 16, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. sporting goods near me


    June 16, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. banks near me

    There's certainly a great deal to know about this subject. I love all of the points you made.


    June 16, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ollies near me


    June 16, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. funeral homes near me

    I used to be able to find good information from your articles.


    June 16, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. us post office near me

    I was able to find good info from your articles.


    June 16, 2021 at 20:23 | 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.