Stacy Talks & Reviews: Could Moving Make You Happier?

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Could Moving Make You Happier?

People move for different reasons – work reasons, the search for a better school district, or to reduce the cost of living. Others move to combine households, some to accommodate a growing family or the need to start a new chapter in life. The reasons are varied, some good, others due to feeling a certain level of dissatisfaction with the current circumstances you find yourself in. It is to the latter that we want to focus our attention to, and in doing so, pose the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question – can moving really make you happier or is it simply a Band-Aid to an otherwise bigger problem?

Well, it depends.

According to research done on the subject, it may or it may not. It mostly hinges on the underlying factors.

If you are moving from your hometown to escape a bad relationship, it may be exciting to pack up your bags and have a moving company whisk you to the other side of the country, but is the excitement going to be short-lived because you’re escaping a problem or is it something you’ll feel years down the line?

Same logic applies when swapping the life of a mid-sized quiet suburb for the bright lights and fast life of a big city like NYC or Los Angeles.

Research has shown that many people who assume they’ll be happier when they move to a different place are victims of what is known as a focusing illusion.

For example, the idea of moving to the sunny climes of California might be hugely appealing to a Midwesterner, but the excitement can wear off once you get habituated to the new environment. And then you find yourself, believe it or not, missing home.

So, moving doesn’t always guarantee lasting happiness.

However, there are instances when a move to a different city or part of the country can bring about positive changes that make our lives significantly happier.

Here are five ways that relocation can change your life for the better.

1. Promise of financial freedom

A large percentage of moves have financial underpinnings to them.

A lot of people move to hunt for better job opportunities, others to relocate to an area with a lower cost of living, both of which are geared towards improving one’s lifestyle or reducing financial stress – whichever way you want to look at it.

In fact, this has been a common phenomenon in 2020 in cities like New York where there has been a mass exodus of people heading to cities like Philadelphia which boasts high hiring rates and much lower living costs.

In such instances, moving has the potential to make you happier, although we are not saying it is a nailed-on certainty.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has cited money (or lack thereof) as the biggest cause of stress in the United States. It follows then that one is more likely to be happier when their move puts them in much better financial shape.

2. Better social support system

There is a large number of people who don’t feel content living far away from their loved ones, so much so that moving to be closer with family is one of the biggest causes of many relocations in America.

Social support systems – according to the APA – are a strong indicator of reduced stress and increased happiness. Thus, moving to be closer to family (and friends) helps many people better cope with life’s stresses, which can only brighten one’s life.

3. Nicer neighborhoods

Our environments have an effect on our happiness in more ways than we care to think.

For one, moving to a neighborhood with better amenities – for example, more trees, a nearby park, or vibrant neighborhood – can earnestly improve your happiness if these amenities are lacking in your current location.

An area with a better sense of community can also increase your happiness levels and sense of belonging, and sometimes it’s not until you experience this in person that you realize how much of an impact it can have in your life.

It’s little wonder that many cities the world over have now started using happiness as a metric for understanding the economy.

4. Increased safety levels

We cannot be content and appreciate the things that make us happy in an environment riddled with insecurity. Safety is one of the core pillars for a happier life, no matter who you are.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a sense of safety is only behind basic physiological needs like breathing, sleeping and eating. That’s how big of a deal it is.

Moving to a city or neighborhood with a lower crime rate has a direct correlation to a greater sense of happiness.

5. Better climate

It’s easy to take for granted the effect weather has on our personal happiness, but you’ll come across many everyday stories of people unable to cope in a new environment due to weather issues.

Moving to an area with intolerable weather that stresses you out or a climate you’re not used to can have a big effect on your overall happiness, and this could manifest in different ways.

Millions of Americans who live in places with long winters are said to be negatively affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression triggered by climates with less sunlight at certain times of the year.

Too much heat is also not a good thing, with people who live in such climates known to suffer from reduced productivity.

In short, moving to an area with more tolerable weather or a climate that is better suited to your personal preferences can have a huge impact on your overall happiness.

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