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Brain fatigue from living in the city?

Emerging research suggests city life is hard on the brain.

Investigators believe the need to continuously process multitudes of fleeting but compelling stimuli can impair mental processes like memory and attention and leave us mentally exhausted.

However, retreating to nature, a calm environment or performance of yoga or meditation can help relieve the stress.

In some ways, it is helpful to have a nervous system on alert. Dr. Sara Lazar, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Laboratory, says that “on a busy city street, it’s probably more adaptive to have a shorter attention span.”

Some people might say the stimuli that bombard us daily in city life are just a distraction, but Lazar said they could contain vital information, so we have to pay attention to them, even though they use up a lot of the brain’s natural processing power.

“If you’re too fixated on something, you might miss a car coming around the corner and fail to jump out of the way,” said Lazar in a recent statement from Harvard Medical School.

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