What makes us happy?

[deleted account] ( 23 moms have responded )

I was so surprised to learn that my state, Louisiana, was named the happiest state in the nation, while New York was dead last and California was 46th.

I wouldn't live anywhere else. We have the best cajun/creole food, best music, Mardi Gras, beautiful scenic bayous, a rich history and culture, LSU football and Popeyes Chicken.

But there is so much bad. We have some of the highest rates of crime, poverty, infant mortality, teen death and suicide and failing schools. Not to mention the hurricanes! Those factors don't seem to equate happiness.

So my question is, what makes a group of people happy? I understand that there many people on here that live outside of the U.S., but maybe you could give some unbiased feedback.

Here are two articles reporting on the study.

One from California:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_...

One from Louisiana:
http://www.neworleans.com/blogs/louisian...

23 Comments

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ME - posted on 02/07/2010

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I recently moved from Denver, CO to the suburbs of Chicago...Denver is beautiful, has great weather, the feel of a "big" city without the traffic or crime...healthy, beautiful, friendly people, decent food and cultural events access, a decent music scene...The suburbs of chicago have crime, fast food, poverty, a very conservative population lacking in diversity, HORRIBLE WEATHER, and many other things I hate. Why, you might ask, did we leave?!?!?! Because happiness takes more than things...My family (parents, extended family, and two of my three sisters) live in IL. I had missed SO MUCH with my family over the past 10 years that I'd been in CO, that I started to understand that happiness is not about the place...but about the people, and about your own peace of mind...even tho my circumstances were lovely, I was not happy!

[deleted account]

I'm about an hour north of the Gulfport/Biloxi area if you go down Hwy 49. We just go down 59 when we're headed to NOLA though, because it's closer.



And *sigh* Yeah, Alabama this year...They might be champs more often if they'd stay off probation. ;)

[deleted account]

Diana, where exactly are you, if you don't mind my asking. I live about 20 minutes north of Baton Rouge, about 1.5 hours from NOLA. GEAUX TIGERS!!!

Lindsay - posted on 02/06/2010

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I think the climate helps as well. I'm in Kentucky and am much happier in the spring, summer and fall months than the winter. Being able to get outside and enjoy it helps so much. We don't have much of a traffic issue...I can't get anywhere I need to go in about 20 minutes or less. We have a very reasonable cost of living....and we have the CATS!!!! SEC BASKETBALL baby!!!! =)

JL - posted on 02/06/2010

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Haha! All I have to say Diana is.....Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer... Bama NATIONAL champs!

[deleted account]

lol...I'm only about an hour from NOLA (New Orleans), so we get the best of both worlds-soul food and Cajun food, and lots of sweet tea. I do occassionally drink hot tea, a habit I picked up from a British friend, and when I do I get looked at like I'm crazy.

Joy-Roll Tide, really? Oh no! I just have to say...War Damn Eagle! It's a good thing football season is over!

JL - posted on 02/06/2010

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I am a Southern girl....so I agree with the Southern food comment and also sweet iced tea, must have my sweet iced tea. Also Football..SEC! Roll Tide!

Christa - posted on 02/06/2010

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every different region has it own traditions. I love where I live...it comfortable and I'm happy here. but yet I love to visit other regions....take in their culture. If I was planning a vacation for a group of adults.....Vegas, New Orleans and Tampa would be my top three choices....fun places to go! I can't imagine living there all the time...probably because my family isn't there. But to go there for a fun time....definately. Maybe that is why your state is at the top....fun place to be. We are always happy when we are having fun. Plus....you have Who Dat!!

[deleted account]

Thanks Kelsey. You've explained it on an individual level very well. But I was looking a little bigger than that. What makes a certian society "happier" than another?

And Diana, you are right, we do have the best food!

[deleted account]

I'm thinking that so many Southern states ended up at the top because of our food. You know...Fat and happy. Just sayin'. ;)

Kelsey - posted on 02/05/2010

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P.S. hardship is a very strong motive for true happiness, which is why you see alot of people sad that have a great life, financially, etc. and you see alot of people happy that have been through tragity or hardship.

Kelsey - posted on 02/05/2010

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Happiness comes from having peace within yourself, which can mean different things for different folks. What gives me peace is knowing that all the bad things in this world, in some way do good for someone. Even if something terrible happens to you, or your child, you wont ever accept it, but you can come to peace with it by realizing that even if you dont see any good from it, its out there somewhere. Love always wins over evil. Thats how I stay happy. All the bad things that happen in my life is what made me the smart, loving, and strong person I am now. I wouldnt be half the person I am today if those things never happened. When I hear a terrible story about a child being abused or killed, it haunts me, but eventually I realize that their life still had purpose, that in some way what happened to them helped others. What happened to them wasnt fair, or in anyway ok, but in the end, even with the most evil of things, love always wins. The things that happened to baby Brianna for example, haunted me for months, kept me up at night, made my cry alot, and one day, I realized that her life and death, as terrible and tragic as it was, touched alot of people. Opened my eyes, showed my a side of the world I never really saw, made me feel true empathy, which in turn made me feel extreme love, and did the same to countless others. She may have even saved many other kids from abuse. She is in heaven now, a more loving person than anyone could ever be, and her life had more purpose than I can even think of. Its the way you look at things that makes you a happy person. You could be the poorest person in the world, starving, and afraid, but if you keep your faith, and dont become consumed with your pain, consuming yourself with love instead of anger, you can still be a happy person. Happiness isnt just laughing, smiling, and being cheerful. You can be truly happy within yourself and still cry. Havent you ever cried in pain and hurt, yet still found the peace within yourself to smile in your heart? Thats TRUE happiness, and anyone can have that, if they have the right perspective on life.

Jodi - posted on 02/05/2010

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LOL Sarah, and here in Australia, we call you all "whinging poms....".

Sarah - posted on 02/05/2010

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Well, i live in England.
It rains all time, we moan about the weather, we have a stiff upper lip, we say "Bloody 'Ell" a lot............so we're a pretty miserable bunch!
We do all live in castles tho.

hehehe! :)

[deleted account]

Family....that's a biggie. If you live here, you were most likely born here therefore your family is here. A lot of people move to New York City or California for jobs (3 of my husband's grandmother's 12 children moved to Cali for jobs) therefore no family. Another important factor.

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2010

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To add-- I don't remember where Colorado fell on that list, but I bet it was decent.... I don't particularly like the geography but I love the attitudes and the culture here. I'm pretty happy here, even with the high cost of living.

Charlie - posted on 02/04/2010

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I love Australia , i love the people , i love the landscape , the lifestyle but most of all i love my family who happen to live here .

Rosie - posted on 02/04/2010

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for me being happy where i live is pretty easy. i live in iowa, and i feel VERY safe and secure wherever i go here. i'm a little imtimidated by big cities, but luckily there aren't to many of them in iowa (lol!). i'm surrounded by my family, i love that my neighbor does odd jobs around our house just because he wants to help, and i love that when we moved into our house other people were over bringing fresh baked bread and goodies for us. i have almost NO traffic anywhere i go, and i live in the 2nd biggest city in iowa. the cost of living is fabulous! my best friend moved to oregon for a bit and she was looking for a house there and shitholes were $130,000, here to get a shithole you'd only spend about $60,000. sure there are some things here that i don't like, like the fact that theres not much to do except hang out with your friends, but all of the positives outweigh the negatives by far. i love my life, and i am very happy where i am!

[deleted account]

Michelle and Joy, you said what the articles said! Funny how one factor like traffic or being around incredible wealth can have such an effect on happiness. I like what the Louisiana article said about all the unhappy people left the state after Katrina. Probably not true, but funny.

JL - posted on 02/04/2010

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TRAFFIC and COMMUTING are some of the main issues. I have lived in some of the states or visited some of the states at the bottom of the happiness ranking and most of them all have horrific traffic and the cost of living is ridiculous so you have to live a distance from where you work. Most people have to wake up and get on the road 2 to 4 hours before they even have to be at work because of traffic. Then there is the additional 2 to 4 hours to get home after work and sitting in congested traffic and having to commute long hours has been statistically shown to increase blood pressure, stress, anxiety, heart problems, and ect.



Spending most of your time sitting it traffic just so you can afford to live in a decent home in a decent school district in an area that has a high cost of living is probably enough to make one miserable.



I lived in the Baltimore/DC area for 6 years before I moved to Augusta, Georgia. I had great job offers making really good money in and around DC but the commute would have meant 4 to 6 additional hours on the road everyday and we could not afford to live in the vacinity of the areas where the jobs were at so I ended up taking a job making a lot less in an area that was closer to home and required only a 45 minute to an hour commute.



I HATE TRAFFIC!

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2010

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I read an article about this too, and the article I read had a mini disclaimer that said that these were based on a survey of people who rated their happiness on a scale of 1-10, and thus the study is not truly scientific and is based purely on how people see themselves and their level of day-to-day happiness.



My personal opinion is that Louisiana ranked highest because it takes a loss to see what you really have, and New York and California have a hell of a lot of spoiled rich brats who think their lives are ruined when daddy won't buy them a $200,000 car, and instead got them a brand new $100,000 car. *shrug* just my humble opinion.

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