Are the winter doldrums getting you down? Are you sick and tired of being unhappy? Experts say there are a lot of things that contribute to a person's happiness (positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being), but, perhaps all you need is a change of scenery. Studies have shown that where you live can have a big impact on a person's mood and general happiness.
So, where is the best place in the U.S. to live so you can turn that frown upside? Fortunately for all you Gloomy Guses out there, WalletHub has examined more than 180 cities around the nation to find out which city is feelin' fine in the sunshine.
Living in California, Texas or Florida is a great way to get happy according to WalletHub. The Golden State claimed five of the top ten happiest cities in the U.S. with Irvine, Fremont, Huntington Beach, San Jose, and San Francisco ranked as some of the happiest in the nation.
If you're looking for a great place to play sports, Huntington Beach and Irvine have some of the most people in the nation participating in one activity or another. San Francisco was ranked as having the highest income growth potential (which you'll need thanks to the skyrocketing cost of housing in the Bay Area).
Plano, Texas ranked as the happiest city in the nation, thanks to its high income and community rankings.
Despite a wacky reputation, turns out Florida is a hard place to be depressed. Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale, and Pembroke Pines, FL all tied for first in having the lowest depression rates in the country.
Things don't look so great in Vermont as Burlington and South Burlington had some of the highest depression rates in the country. People had a hard time getting a good night's sleep in Toledo and Akron, Ohio.
Of course, discovering what makes you unhappy is the first step to happiness. Many people cite their jobs, or current financial situation as the main reason they're unhappy. If you're unhappy with your career, Dr. Robert Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland recommends finding something you're good at and pursue the things that bring you success.
"Money may not directly buy happiness, but it can certainly buy the essentials of food, housing, transportation, and health care that contribute to happiness," said Dr. Provine. "Beyond obtaining the essentials, wealth makes a diminishing contribution to well-being."
That is to say, money may not buy you happiness, but it sure does give you a headstart on misery. Plus, if you're only thinking about how unhappy you are, it's can be difficult to reframe your situation.
"Thinking deeply about happiness is probably done by more unhappy than happy people," said Dr. Provine. "Happy people are too engaged in having fun to muse about happiness. Are people playing in a band, singing in a choir, playing on a ball team, or engaged in a hobby consumed by philosophical musings?"
Happiness is something you bring into your life and while a change of scenery can do you good, you'll still have to deal with the things that make you unhappy.