Other top cities included Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, and San Jose in California; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Fort Collins, Colorado (clearly, Southern California is a pretty happy place). Next was Provo, Utah, and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, made the list, as well as Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In examining why these specific cities made the cut, Buettner said, "There's a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city. In Boulder, you're more likely to hear the whoosh of a cyclist than the shrill of a siren compared to places like Dallas, Tallahassee, or Los Angeles. Cities like Boulder question the unquestioned virtues of development. This benefits visitors, who can experience an emphasis on greenery, a high-quality culinary community, limited marketing onslaught and no billboards."
While this data is interesting, we like to take it as a reminder to tune into your state of mental health and maybe practice some self-care if your environment calls for it. From our experience, simple habits like scheduling workout time, journaling, listening to music, and reading can make a big difference on our happiness. And if you're truly not happy in your environment, Buettner says that picking up and moving to a brand-new city isn't a crazy idea. "My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don’t try to change your belief system. Change your environment."