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Keeping up in Toronto can be stressful, says a psychologist. (John Rieti/CBC)

Large urban environments are fast-paced, loud and busy, and that contributes to how its inhabitants feel.

In this city, some call it "keeping Toronto time." Metro Morning has taking stock of something you might call our urban condition: feeling tired, busy, and stressed.

There's little question that it's a grind. But how is it affecting us?

Martin Antony, a professor and the chair of psychology at Ryerson University, helps run the Institute for Stress and Wellbeing Research. He told Metro Morning that living an urban lifestyle definitely has an impact on stress.

"There are several factors in big cities that cause this: there's the noise and the traffic, as well as the long work hours and long commutes. Longer commutes means there's not as much mental resources to focus on other things you need to focus on," he said.

"Each of these contribute to stress and wellbeing levels over a long period and can take their toll."

Stress levels are lower in small environments, studies have shown. For example, researchers have conducted stress studies in Japanese forests, where they found that levels of stress were much lower than those in urban environments.

Coping with it all

Anthony has been focussed on anxiety for years. In 2008, he co-authored The Anti-Anxiety Workbook, which offers both strategies and activities to identify anxiety triggers, change negative thinking and reduce stress.

He wants readers of his book to understand what anxiety is and how it gets out of control.

Anthony said that being tired, busy and stressed are all integrated, but he said that fatigue and stress are two separate things. Fatigue is caused by not having enough rest, which creates difficulty concentrating and ultimately staying awake. "There's an overall difficulty to do things when we are tired," he said. 

Stress can be caused by emotional strains, which are caused by taxing events — which is subjective to the person, but generally can be increased depending on how much a person does.

His main advice begins quite simply as doing less.

"You can do things in order to reduce your busy-ness or stress levels," he said. "This starts by doing less things.
It leads to more down and rest time."