Happiness is an elusive commodity. Some people are happy because they have a successful career; many people are happy because they are in love. The Gallup Poll states that the majority of people are happy because of where they live. If any man or woman has all three options in their lives, then they have, most likely, earned it. They can sit back and enjoy the harvest of their good choices. They can be assured that their state of contentment is because of where they live.
According to experts, depending on which state people live in, their happiness level will range from either a 10 for ecstatically happy, to a 2 for lacking in joy and just going through the motions every day. Unfortunately, studies show that many people fall under that category.
There are ten top states in the country that can be referred to as the happiest states in which to live. According to the Gallup Poll, those states with the happiest residents are: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, and Iowa.
Taking into consideration one’s health, mental state, income, relationships, and quality of life, it is not just one thing that defines a person’s well being, but a combination of several significant factors. Quality of life would have to rank as one of the most important elements. But an adequate income always helps to make it possible to enjoy that quality of life. Without good health, a person, rich or poor, cannot really enjoy the best life has to offer, and of course, love, they say, is what makes the world go round. At the same time, everything is a state of mind. Your state of happiness is where you live and how you think. Positive thinking will go much further creating a beautiful life than looking at your environment with a negative attitude or a jaundiced eye. A person’s thoughts create who they are, but it does not hurt to live in a beautiful area with a cherished love. Love, by itself, can sometimes make up for the lack of other things that are missing.
Each of these states stands out in its own way, with its own attributes to recommend it. The Western portion of the United States and several Mid-Western states lead the race in pleasing their residents. It is not surprising that landscape has a great deal to do with contentment and peace of mind.
Colorado is number 7 on the list. The Rocky Mountains are gorgeous to look at and provide a much-needed escape from the everyday worries of life. Knowing there are mountains close by where one can go to retreat for a short while; where one can find a trail and hike amongst the towering pines and feel the nearness of nature is a pleasure city dwellers seldom enjoy. Simply listening to the sound of silence can connect a person to something much bigger than the humdrum routines of life, because the forest embodies a peacefulness, a quiet rarely found in the job of day-to-day living. In the mountain communities, to wake up and see a deer grazing in the woods behind your home, or feel the joy of a frosty morning and the warmth of a fireplace … these daily experiences are peace-inducing. Being able to live close to nature will raise one’s self-awareness and one’s mood.
In the prairie states, which make up a large portion of this list, those residents have the wide open spaces that harken back to simpler days, when every square inch of land was still not developed with houses or shopping malls or tech centers. They could actually feel the earth beneath their feet and see for miles in every direction. It gave them a sense of freedom.
A good economy is always a boost to a happy lifestyle, and the Dakotas, though known for their frigid winters, are in an economic high now. For some, that would make up for the long, cold winters.
Washington made the list and offers much in the way of beauty and a sense of well being. With the mountains, the ocean, and a laid-back lifestyle, it is a great place to raise a family.
Each person decides what their concept of well-being entails. Healthways researchers have developed five criteria that can be used to evaluate quality of life.
- Purpose: Enthusiastic about goals
- Social: Having a meaningful love relationship and circle of friends
- Financial: Managing your money to alleviate stress
- Community: Happy with where you live, people you see
- Physical: The gift of good health and energy to accomplish goals
People can look at this list and ask themselves if their state of happiness is, indeed, due to the state in which they live.
Editorial by Christine Schlichte