These are the Happiest States in the U.S.

In the quest to identify the happiest states in America, a recent study by WalletHub identified 30 crucial components to living a happy life.

Decades of happiness research was utilized to identify the level of impact every aspect of daily life can have upon a person’s joy. Each contributing component can be categorized into three key dimensions: emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment. Each metric received a grade on a 100-point scale, where a score of 100 signified the highest level of happiness. Ultimately, the weighted average for each state was computed across all metrics, determining its overall score.

According to the report, Arizona is the 27th happiest state in the country, with a 53.48 total score. The Grand Canyon State scored 21 for Emotional and Physical Well-Being, 33 for Work Environment, and 23 for Community and Environment.

Let’s dive deeper into what these three key dimensions of happiness mean for a joyful and fulfilling life.

Source: WalletHub

1. Emotional & Physical Well-Being

Of the three categories, emotional and physical well-being weighs on happiness the heaviest. When gauging which states rank best within this category, Hawaii taking the top spot, researchers questioned people’s experiences with depression, alcoholism, mental health, food insecurities, general life expectancy and the location’s suicide rates. They also looked at whether people feel a sense of purpose in their lives, or if individuals have a loving and supportive community. Getting good sleep, staying active, such as participating in sports or fitness activities, and feeling productive all play a role in how people feel about themselves, and subsequently their life satisfaction. Maintaining a balance between a majority of these categories is key, as these elements are often intertwined. 

2. Work Environment 

For many, the weekdays are spent working. People need money to survive, to support themselves and their families. Because of this, household annual incomes, employment rates, job security, economic security, financial anxiety, and income growth rates were all valued as contributing factors to a state’s average level of happiness.  California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Arizona ranked top five in the nation for highest income growth.  Economic stability creates resource stability and peace of mind.

It is important to note the happiness income paradox when thinking about the correlation between income and happiness. Essentially, having enough money to care for your basic needs increases happiness, but having exuberant amounts could bring about other problems. Aside from income, the culture of a workspace, the level of time and energy required and work-related stress are also contributing factors. 

3. Community & Environment 

A unique and specific relationship exists between every person and their community and environment. From how people utilize their spare time to the emotional and physical impact of the local weather, these stereotypically monotonous aspects of life can manifest deeply personal experiences and feelings. Because of this, ideal weather and leisure time spent per day are both ranked as high influences on happiness. Additionally, divorce rates, volunteer rates and overall safety were also key elements considered as influences in the report. 

The beauty of happiness arises from its flexibility. There is no one recipe to guarantee happiness. An infinite collection of well-balanced interactions with one’s environment exists under the happiness umbrella and the perfect assortment differs for every individual.  

When interviewed by WalletHub, Miriam Liss, a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington, reinforced the autonomy a person could have over their well-being. Liss suggested: “People can do small things like focusing on gratitude, savoring positive moments, engaging in mindfulness practice, becoming involved in the community, doing kind acts to others, and making time to nurture friendships and relationships.” 

Read the full report here.

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