Stress is something that almost all of us - particularly those of us who live in big cities - experience from time to time. As a result, there are a number of accepted methods of relieving the symptoms of stress and helping the mind to relax. Taking a nice warm bath and listening to soothing music are two age-old solutions, but now there’s a more modern alternative: spending time on the internet.

Ericsson ConsumerLab studies show that life in the city offers great opportunities. However, sometimes it seems there are too many options to choose from and too many things to squeeze in. Some people find it more difficult than others to manage all the temptations a big city offers and struggle to achieve a balance in their lives.

Crowds are part of the problem and stress levels are lower in a relatively small city like Stockholm, and much higher in megacities like Mumbai and Cairo. So, the stereotype that city dwellers are more busy and stressed than those living in the countryside holds true: 57 percent of people living in big city centers feel stress or tension at least fairly often while the corresponding figure for people living in rural areas is 51 percent.

Although urban residents feel more stress, people continue to move into cities. One way or another they learn how to cope with these negative feelings. The most common stress reliever among busy city dwellers is to take a bath or shower. It is also clear that ICT has a positive impact on quality of life as listening to music, spending time on the internet and watching TV are the next most popular means of relieving stress. Perhaps we will see the rise of waterproof smartphones and tablets as city dwellers take their relaxing media habits into their bathtubs!

Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab Analytical Platform 2011 (online sample)

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