Thursday, November 02, 2006

New Yorkers Are Stressed Out!
By Samantha Davies

New York City is a place of high volume, constant traffic, and a never ending flow of people. For those of us who live here these elements may prove to be, at times, overwhelming. After reading the stress report from the University of Florida’s Counseling Center, it occurred to this New Yorker that our environment is the cause for much of the stress seen in New York’s citizens.

The other day I forced myself to wake up at eight a.m., write a paper, get to class, and then make it to work on time. Unfortunately, I only had thirty minutes to get from 71st to Spring Street and it was the height of rush hour. I walked out of the school and of course there was not a single cab in sight. It is safe to say, I was completely stressed. Internally, I was freaking out, and externally I was taking it out on the New Yorkers around me. I found myself shoving people and walking with muscular tension.

New York is the capital of the world, but it is also proving to be the world capital of stress. We live in an environment of “pollution”, “traffic”, “crowding,” “noise” and inclement weather. All of which, according to the University of Florida counseling center are the sources of stress caused by the environment in which one lives.

Most of America lives in suburban environments, where they do not have to deal with a daily fight for a cab or traveling in an confined underground tube of transportation. In movies, New Yorkers are portrayed as mean, irritable, and angered citizens. According to the University of Flordia’s counseling center, these are also emotional symptoms of stress. But how can New Yorker’s avoid being constantly stressed? I mean, we live in a place that exemplifies almost all of the counseling center’s distinguished primary sources of stress. It is no wonder most people walk around with mean faces...We’re stressed out.

Walking down the street where you only see frowns, most likely can cause stress as well. Professor Zucker of Marymount Manhattan College, once said that after 9/11, New York was the best place to live. Everyone was so friendly, and it was because we all shared a collective feeling. We all shared a common understanding. Well, it is time that we share an understanding of why the man walking next to us is sending out anger and irritable vibes.

There are many ways for us to manage our stress. The counseling center writes, to “spend a short period of time in a state of profound relaxation,” will reduce stress. New Yorkers are always in a constant state of trying to catch up. So the question remains when do we have this “profound” time? The center says that 15 minutes of silence will lessen your stress. So the next time your standing on the sardine packed 6 train, take the time to read the poetry in motion ads on the wall. Or simply sit in your seat, close your eyes and reduce your stress.

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