Do you dare to confront the anonymity of life in the city by greeting a stranger on an elevator?Can you find a busy public space and sit for a few minutes people-watching?

For some of us, the push for higher density is welcomed.

We yearn to see central business districts teeming with pedestrian traffic both day and night.

More than half of the people of the world live in cities, and all signs suggest that the urbanization of human populations will continue to accelerate in coming decades. One can make the argument that increasing population densities in urban cores is easier on resources than the kind of sprawling car-centric city planning that we’ve seen in so many places, especially in North America.

It’s this kind of argument that is behind legislated city planning by-laws that place financial penalties or outright bans on development in the suburban hinterland of a city, while providing incentives for development in the downtown core.

But if you take the time to understand what makes you tick and how it relates to where you are, you might find that you can alter your patterns of behavior in ways that lessen your everyday stresses.

Are there new routes you can explore that take you into or near urban parks you wouldn’t normally encounter?But other than making sure that we don’t miss a critical public meeting of city legislators about a proposal to change our green-spaces, what can we do to help us regulate the stresses of dodging traffic, negotiating crowded sidewalks, and dealing with honking car horns and the sirens of emergency vehicles on a 24/7 schedule?An important first step might be to arm oneself with knowledge.If you can do this, are you able to monitor how the new route makes you feel?Can you gain refreshment simply by avoiding the well-worn habits of your usual day in the city by exploring a new neighborhood?I can feel my blood pressure go up when I have to deal with a particularly difficult person at work, so I prepare myself by using some relaxation techniques before I engage with them.