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Happiness: A State of Mind or a State of Residence?

November 30, 2011

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“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” - Aristotle

Happiness: elusive for some, natural for others; it is the primary goal of all humans and animals.

A recent article in Men's Health magazine suggests that where you live is an indication of how happy you are. Honolulu, Hawaii, as it turns out, is where the happiest people live. For those of us who struggle through the long winters of the Northeast, this isn't surprising news. But if a tropical area with oceans and beaches is the key to happiness, how did Boston, Manchester, and Fargo end up with high happiness grades?

St. Petersburg, FL was named the saddest city. Detroit, Memphis, Tampa, Louisville, and Miami all received an “F” as well. According to Men’s Health, Florida is a pretty depressing place to live, so sunshine certainly isn’t a factor in the happiness score.

Cities were graded on a few different metrics including suicide rates, unemployment rates, and the percentage of households taking antidepressants. The magazine also factored in the “number of people who report feeling the blues all or most of the time.”

While external conditions like your environment and a job can impact how happy or sad you are, finally it’s your response to your conditions and feelings of connection to others in your relationships that are the real sources of happiness. Include a regular exercise routine, a spiritual practice, and a healthy and nutritious diet, and you have a grade A+ for a happy mind. People who lead a healthy lifestyle are happier.

With positive lifestyle changes, anyone can achieve the happiness they are looking for. Try these five tips from Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness to turn that frown upside down.

  1. Find work you love or a way to love the work you have.
  2. Have healthy relationships that support you.
  3. Exercise regularly.
  4. Eat more whole organic foods.
  5. Develop a spiritual practice.

Whether you live in the happiest or saddest city, these methods for increasing your primary food will definitely help you to be happier and healthier.