Living in the big city can bring with it a whole host of benefits. It’ll often allow you to ditch the car, and become more reliant on public transport. Alongside this, you’ll be closer to events, social hotspots, and perhaps even your work. However, for all the boons provided, living inside of the urban jungle has its downsides, too. It’s often costly, with homes likely to be smaller than out in the suburbs or the country.
Worst of all, there are often fewer obvious opportunities for nature walks and to practice other mindfulness activities. Although, when you’re caught up in the big smoke, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to grasp at some chances of clean air.
Here are some easy ways to find some inner peace and serenity when living in a bustling city centre.
Find an outlet for all your mental clutter
If you’re prone to ruminating, then it’s likely that the best way for you to surmount this tendency of your mind is to organise it rather than to ignore it. There is no point initiating mindfulness exercises throughout your day when you have deadlines and obligations breathing down your neck with no end in sight. Coming into the new year there can be no better way of keeping organised than by keeping a 2024 diary.
Before you begin your mindfulness exercises on each given day, it can be immensely helpful to your mental wellbeing to know that you have your affairs in order – that you know what needs to be done and by when, and you’re aware of everywhere you’ll need to be. Keeping a well-organised diary is also a great step in organising which tasks and deadlines are most important and which can be shifted, which plans are able to be cancelled. This will allow you to feel more mentally stable in general, homing in on the important things.
Search out for the green amongst the concrete
Developing an awareness of where the little pockets of nature are within your city can be invaluable in helping you stay connected to the natural world whilst existing amongst those concrete and metal pillars. Even major cities will often have beautiful park networks and reserves when you know where to look for them.
So why not spend some time exploring your big city in order to find all the natural assets that are closest to you? You could even head online to look for lists or join local Facebook community groups to read through other people’s suggestions. Or simply chat about it with others in your neighbourhood. You’d be surprised by how many hidden park spaces you can find with a few local recommendations up your sleeve.
Inject a little greenery into your home spaces
If looking for the parks nearby seems like a fruitless venture, or if there are some days you’d rather just spend at home, then it can be worth adding a little bit of nature into your own home environment. The idea of becoming a ‘plant parent’ has become trendier than ever in the last few years, but truth be told, this is one trend we should all be getting behind. Not only do plants enhance your space, the act of caring for them can give you a sense of purpose and reduce stress.
The art of decorating with plants can be an endless venture of self-expression, however, the specifics of it will surprisingly affect the benefits you may glean. When you’ve brought nature into the home, and in a way that serves your mental health best, then you’re well on your way into living a mindful life – even within a more urban jungle.
Notice the little things
Mindfulness isn’t just about embarking on long hikes and connecting with the natural world. At its core, mindfulness is about staying connected to yourself and to the world around you, wherever it is you may be. If the world around you is urban through and through, then so be it.
Even with the hustle and bustle of the city, wherever you happen to be, try connecting in with your five senses. Notice where you are – what are the smells, the sights? Is there a strong breeze? What’s the temperature like? Give yourself particular time to meditate in this way before departing one place to another, or changing from doing one activity to another.
And if you’re currently thinking that you’ve never meditated before, then you may be surprised to hear that this method of staying present is actually a really great preliminary step for developing your own daily meditation routines. And once you have these little mindfulness practices in place, the benefits will only grow from there.
Find calmer alternatives
If you’re finding yourself constantly overwhelmed by your surroundings, then it can be worth just changing them! We’ve already spoken about enlivening your living space with plant life, but what about your commute? Switching to riding a bike instead of opting for the crowded tram can solve many problems in one fell swoop. Not only will it get you more fresh air, feeling the wind against your face as you get to travel at your own pace, it’s also an excellent avenue for more incidental exercise in your day.
If there are other parts of your day where the environment is a little too stimulating that you can’t avoid – perhaps your favourite lunch spot is always busy and loud – then there’s often no better investment than some quality noise-cancelling headphones.
And the same goes for your favourite green spaces too. If there are parks that you feel are a little too busy, then why not drive or take your bike out to green spaces that are further out of the city? That way, you can enjoy a little respite from the city crowds whilst still being able to work in an opportunity for exercise and to breathe fresh air.
Mindfulness is such a useful practice because it can be employed practically anywhere, and at any time. Even as a city-dweller there are methods of developing facilities for yourself to practice mindfulness each and every day, Whether it’s connecting with nature, or just with your surroundings, mindfulness isn’t just reserved for those who’ve made a sea change.
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Digital Next.