The question of happiness is one as old as time. What is happiness? How does one achieve happiness? Can one really ever attain it? Multiple variables determine happiness—from money to relationships to career. Now a new study suggests that finding happiness may just be a matter of moving to a new state.
In a recent study by WalletHub, an online financial site, the happiest state in America is revealed to be Minnesota, with California, Utah and (unsurprisingly) Hawaii coming in at a close second. In order to determine the happiest states in the country, WalletHub measured 28 key factors—from average depression rate to safety—across all 5o states.
According to WalletHub’s data, Minnesota was amongst the top states for best sleep rate, volunteer rate, lowest divorce rate and average safety. Similarly, out of all 50 states, Hawaii proved to have the lowest rate of adult depression. An unsurprising find when one considers the influence location can have on a person’s mindset.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
“There are a lot of external influences on happiness,” Bradley H. Smith, Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston, told WalletHub. “Long periods of low sunlight and dreary weather decreases happiness and, in some extreme cases, may cause depression. On the positive side, being surrounded by scenic beauty is very healthy and happiness promoting.”
In line with Professor Smith’s expert opinion, WalletHub’s findings also suggest that scenic states—such as California, Utah, and Hawaii—prove a correlation between natural beauty and a positive outlook on life. Per the study’s findings: Utah proved to have the highest volunteer rate, lowest divorce rate and fewest working hours; while California had the highest sports participation rate and lowest depression rate.
States that proved to be the least happy included Alabama with the lowest adequate sleep rate, Vermont with the highest rate of adult depression, and New Mexico with the highest divorce rate. While WalletHub’s study seems to ultimately point to the idea that happiness is found outside of metropolitan hubs such as New York or Chicago, Jennifer Zwagerman, the Director of Career Development at Drake University, explains that happiness is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.
“People have huge differences of opinions as to what makes a location a great place to live, explains Zwagerman. “It’s a matter of finding the right mix of work, people, activities and a lifestyle that meets your goals.” So, whether you’re a city slicker who finds beauty in the concrete jungle of Manhattan, or a nature buff who prefers the serenity of Montana, our happiness is defined by more than just the place we call home.
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