Are you hard-wired for city living?
Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country, says Jenny McCartney.
City-dwellers suffer more stress, a study found last week, because their brains are wired differently.
The result is that while country residents are better at regulating tension, city folk are more prone to a range of anxiety disorders.
I suppose it makes sense: country types are generally not so vulnerable to noisy neighbours, theft, gun crime, traffic wardens and Tube strikes. Then again, they have to worry about the weather, crops, poor bus services and their inability to obtain a double-shot skinny latte at any moment.
I always envisaged myself ending up in a big city: even as a child, when I was given new clothes, I used to celebrate their first wearing by miming hailing a black taxi, which to my junior mind was the ultimate act of metropolitan glamour. But recently, after spending a week on holiday in rural France, I noticed a nicer me emerging: less irritable and acquisitive. Perhaps if I lived in the country, I might be like that all the time?
On reflection, I doubt it. For every city-dweller that moves to the country and loves it, there is one who pines for the hum of traffic and irritates the locals by twitching impatiently at the unhurried service in the village shop. Indeed, those who are urban by nature might ask themselves whether it benefits anyone else to transport their personal stress-cloud to rural areas: in other words, ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.