Stress In The City: New Study Explores Urban Living in Asia and its Effects on Mental Wellbeing

Hong Kong
Benefits of exercising, yoga and mediation yet to be fully embraced by Singaporeans, shows research conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and supported by Pure Group.
Hyper urbanisation is driving forward Asia-Pacific economies, but its repercussions on stress and mental pressure cannot be ignored, according to a new study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and supported by Pure Group.
“Given that Asia is home to some of the most densely populated cities in the world, it is imperative to understand the impact of overcrowding on mental health, how people cope with it, and if there are more effective tools to battle big city living. Particularly in Singapore, a lack of physical space and intense competition for limited resources will lead to discomfort and stress on overall human well-being”, said Vikram Natarajan, Country Director, Pure Group, Singapore.
The study titled, ‘Making space’ is based on the findings of a survey of 1,000 residents across five cities in Asia: Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei.
  • Hong Kong: 25,900 people/km² in built-up areas
  • Singapore: 11,400 people/km² in built-up areas
  • Taipei: 7,500 people/km² in built-up areas
  • Shanghai: 6,000 people/km² in built-up areas
  • Beijing: 5,100 people/km² in built-up areas
Singaporeans worry about overcrowding
The study found that Singaporeans worry most about the future of overcrowding in their cities, with 31% respondents in Singapore predicting that this will be a much greater problem in the next three years, the highest when compared to the other four cities. Furthermore, 56% of Singaporeans agree that they feel the lack of sufficient personal space.
One of the reasons of overcrowding in smaller cities like Singapore and Hong Kong could be due to inflows of migrants, whereas mainland Chinese cities have created reforms to restrict migrants to cap population growth. This will not only have negative effect on convenience and housing prices, but research suggests that big city living can have negative implications on mental health.
Different strokes for different folks
When it comes to relieving stress, 47% Singaporeans prefer to watch movies or TV to relax while those in Beijing and Shanghai prefer to take advantage of the outdoors. And despite its many health benefits, yoga and meditation appears to be less of a priority as only 27% opt for exercise when compared to drinking, clubbing, karaoke and using social media, the study found.
This is also supported by Pure Group’s last study which revealed more than 50% of Singaporeans between age 18-65 do not actively engage in any form of physical activity, citing time (40%) and motivation (46%) as the biggest barriers to maintaining an active lifestyle.
“Much of this attitude can be attributed to excessive outdoor spaces available in both Beijing and Shanghai, while Singaporeans are restricted by a hotter, more tropical climate,” said Vikram Natarajan, Country Director, Pure Group, Singapore.
Pure Cities campaign – Calm Amidst the Chaos
In response to these findings, Pure Group have launched their new Pure Cities initiative to find calm amidst the chaos. The research-driven campaign is leading the dialogue on how to find physical and mental space in a busy city and provides urbanites with the tools needed to unwind. The campaign is regional, with interactive Pure Cities maps for Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei. The maps feature Pure teachers’ favourite places to find mental space amidst the city’s hustle and bustle and the public are invited to submit their favourite spots too.
Inside the studio, Pure Yoga offer five different types of 30-minutes meditation to quiet our mind and to experience the peace inside. With different techniques, from breath control, yogic sleep, flow of sound, mindful movement to gazing, there is a class to suit all amidst the hectic city life.
About Pure Yoga
Pure Yoga offers exceptional teaching, facilities and environments that inspire people of all ages and abilities to make yoga part of their lives. With locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and New York, Pure Yoga connects practitioners and teachers on a global level by fulfilling diverse needs through various yoga offerings and a team of internationally recognised teachers. Complementing group classes, private sessions and group privates are community events, workshops with guest yoga teachers from around the globe, Teacher Trainings, Continuing Education for Teachers programmes, and retreats in idyllic locales. For those wanting to take their practice beyond the studio, check out – an online yoga video platform that enables yoga on the go with access to a library of yoga videos in English and Chinese.
Pure Yoga Location
Singapore Asia Square Tower 2 • Ngee Ann City • Chevron House

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