utah“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Most Americans are familiar with these words. Written in the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, these unalienable rights were given to all human beings by their creator. (Thanks Thomas J! No wonder he was called ‘Man of the People.’)  And while we may all be free to pursue happiness, where we live in the U.S. affects the outcome of this quest more than we may realize.

WalletHub recently ranked 2018’s Happiest States in America, finding that some states are doing significantly better in this pursuit than others. They analyzed the 50 states across 31 metrics, and found that the happiest places are “rich in nature and community”. The most important metrics that affected happiness were the share of adult depression, suicide rates, number of work hours, job security and ideal-ness of weather.

So, what did their results reveal? The five happiest states based on these metrics are Hawaii, Utah, Minnesota, and North Dakota, with California coming in at No. 5. The bottom-ranking states are Oklahoma, Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas, with West Virginia coming in at No. 50.

Utah is reportedly the second-happiest state based on this ranking, just behind Hawaii. The Beehive State is, of course, very different in both in geography and culture than The Aloha State. But it ranks highly on a variety of levels; it’s first in fewest work hours, volunteer rate and has the lowest divorce rate. It also came in second (after Colorado, which ranked at 18th overall) in highest sports participation rate. It’s cost of living is also relatively low compared to other large metros.

A connection to nature is also profoundly powerful, and having beautiful and accessible natural scenery within reach is major a perk for Utah, California and other high-ranking states. Utah boasts some of the best outdoor recreation and scenery in the nation, and it is proven that time spent outdoors relieves stress and is one of the best natural mood boosters.

According to happiness expert Gretchen Rubin (author of ‘The Happiness Project’), one secret to happiness, or even “The secret to happiness” is relationships. Having the lowest divorce rate has an impact because whether marriage or friendship, these relationships play a huge role in our happiness. Looking for a happy pick-me-up? Making a difference in the lives of others can also boost happiness, and Utah’s high volunteer rate certainly contributes to its second-place ranking.

Frank Niles, PhD, a social scientist, adventure athlete and executive educator says it best. “Happiness comes down to being physically and emotionally healthy, pursuing things that are meaningful to us personally and contributing to something larger than ourselves.”

A connection to nature? Check. Meaningful relationships? Check. Helping others? Check. How cool is it that Utah is succeeding in all of these areas? Here at Novation, we believe in making an impact in the lives of others and having a purpose within our community. It’s our MISSION! Maybe that’s why we’re so happy… :)