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Go to your happy place

Do you like where you live? Think about your likes and dislikes. Now consider how those factors are affecting your happiness. Living in a happy community may just put a smile on your face. See how your town stacks up against these factors.

Service to others is the rent you pay.
Being engaged in your community increases your happiness. Get to know your neighbors. Get some quality time with your family and friends. Connect with other members of your community. If you feel your work and commute don’t take away from quality time with family and friends, you’re in the right place. Additionally, being able to get help or to help others is a major factor to happiness. A 2005 Time Magazine poll shows that 75% of Americans point to volunteering as a major source of happiness. Include family and friends in your volunteer activities and you’re building a community you can call home.

Stop and smell the roses.
A good community takes care of themselves. You’ve got your basics covered—clean air, low traffic noise and general cleanliness. Add access to parks, playgrounds, trails, bodies of water, wilderness and other geographical wonders and you have a great community. You can do your part by recycling and helping to preserve natural spaces. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise while you’re at it. Physical activity produces those happiness-producing endorphins your body craves.

The groundwork of happiness.
A healthy body is a happy one. A good community provides access to comprehensive healthcare and offers good food options such as healthy restaurants, farmers’ markets and community gardens. There should be plenty of opportunities for physical activity including sports leagues for all ages.

Cultivating the mind produces good fruit.
A well-rounded community provides exercise for the mind. If your community has options for artistic endeavors to explore creatively and challenge your thinking, your brain has plenty to explore. Additionally, exposure to other cultural traditions, religions, strong community traditions and entertainment options will put you on the path to happiness.

Where there is no vision.
Surprisingly the way your community is organized could be affecting your happiness. Cities that invest in urban design are better suited for knowing your neighbors. Strong local government, excellent education, good employment opportunities and quality of living standards help your community prosper.

Of course there is no perfect place to live. Much of what makes a person happy is their decision to be just that—happy. But hopefully your place brings a smile to your face when you’re longing for home.

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