"People today are just like birds. Early in the morning they fly out of the nest to find food in order to fill the hungry mouths and empty stomachs left at home. In the evening they return tired and exhausted to the nest. Out in the morning, back at night, this is the duty in daily life. Especially for the people who live in flats and many-storied buildings having rooms like bird's nests. Then this is even more obvious.
For this reason, the minds of the people become rigid and tense and the people become selfish, lacking reason in whatever they do. They follow their whims and fancies, lacking sati [mindfulness] to keep them from creating situations which would otherwise be impossible. Although our country [Thailand] embraces the Buddhist religion, such things can happen and it is likely to grow even worse, because the society is turned upside down. Even the five precepts [Buddhist ethics] are losing influence and will soon be forgotten.
At present the people suffer from mental derangement neuroses. No matter whether they are highly educated, having a university degree, or industrialists, bankers, businessmen, politicians, or practising any other profession, they are all more or less neurotic. We may not be neurological specialists, but if we consider the reasons in the present, that will be enough to know why more and more people become neurotic. Especially for people in the big cities it is very obvious. They no sooner wake up in the morning than the mind is already tense and rigid. Children as well as grown-up people, they all must hurry up to catch a bus and get on in pursuing education, business, duties or buying breakfast. When they get stress, they are not open-minded and lose their temper easily. When they arrive at the office, they encounter problems with unsatisfactory colleagues or the work itself. This makes the mind even more tense. When they return home, they face the household and family problems again, and the neurotic strain still increases. When they lie down to sleep, again they think about problems, think about the occupation, about money and the many other things of tomorrow. The mind, the nerves and the brain, which want to relax naturally by sleeping, have to go on working. These are precisely the problems of the sort that make us more neurotic day in, day out."
— Acharn Thawee Baladhammo, Practicing Insight On Your Own: A Handbook for Vipassana-kammatthana
I think the analogy hits the nail on the head. Many of us who live in highly populated areas become neurotic due to the pressure and stress we develop from our interaction with other people. Add to that the fact that most of the things we see around us today are intentionally created to distract our attention. Because of these factors, we experience difficulty when it comes to managing our emotions and making rational decisions.
Many of the techniques used in psychotherapy today rely on methods that help individuals become more aware about their own behavior and beliefs since these are the ones that generate most of our enduring problems. Perhaps this is why some psychotherapists are incorporating the methods used in Mindfulness Meditation into their therapy because these techniques mainly involve paying attention to one's body, feelings, mind, and thoughts (see Four Foundations of Mindfulness). However, we must not forget that mindfulness is an essential component of the Noble Eightfold Path in Buddhism — the Buddha's prescription to relieve ourselves of suffering. Hence, those who practice mindfulness alone as a cure for neuroticism or any other mental disorder will most likely end up being disappointed if they neglect practicing right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right concentration. These are all interrelated parts of a single program.