Blue Neighborhoods: How Your Community Affects Your Mind

Sometimes, you may suddenly start feeling sadder, or that old emotional problems are getting worse. It could be that there’s a lot of things going on in your life, but why does it feel like something is adding to your burdens? In some cases, the problem isn’t with you. There’s just something wrong with your neighborhood.

It should come as no surprise that the quality of your community can have significant effects on your mental health. Here’s how your neighborhood can get you down in the dumps.

A Depressing Miasma

The Ancient Greeks had a concept they called “miasma.” It can be translated as “pollution,” but not in the physical sense. Miasma was a spiritual stain caused by guilt and violent acts. It could infect a single ship or even an entire city.

The concept of your environment polluting your emotional and mental health has been studied many times over the years. These studies tend to agree that the quality of your neighborhood can have a significant influence on your behavior.

A team of researchers discovered that children who lived in communities with poor physical characteristics, such as abandoned or dilapidated housing, had greater chances of exhibiting disruptive behavior. They also found that these children were more likely to develop anxiety and depression than kids who lived in communities with no poor physical characteristics.

A separate study claimed that neighborhood impact on your mental health should be a major concern. This is because people may not realize that it’s their surroundings that are causing their mental health issues. People living outside the area can also mistakenly attribute these mental health disorders to other factors, such as race and similar personal characteristics. This means that the real culprit can go unnoticed and unresolved.

When your neighborhood starts messing with your mental health, it may be a good time to start looking for someone willing to buy your house. But what improvements can the people in a community contribute to curbing its negative mental effects?

Nurturing Nature

Residential backyard deck

Nature holds the key to soothing your mind and bringing mental clarity to a distraught community.

A team of researchers determined that natural features, such as trees and birds, can improve a neighborhood’s mental health. Their findings indicate that communities with just 30 percent more tree cover reduce the number of anxiety and stress cases by as much as 25 percent. The study’s respondents also indicated that hearing birds sing during the day also positively affected their mood and mentality.

Although a little dose of greenery can help reduce mental distress, the study points out that nature isn’t enough. Unless the direct causes of a community’s distressing features are addressed, people will continue to feel terrible. The only way to solve a problem affecting an entire community is to tackle it head-on as a community, not individually.

If you believe that your neighborhood is starting to be a burden to your mental health, consider departing for greener pastures or start thinking about how you can improve your environment.

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