Friday, August 28, 2009

Red States and Blue States, but What about Happy States?

One of the most satisfying parts of my professional life is when a client comes to me and shares her story of a life transformed. I became a hypnotherapist out of a desire to help people. Men and women often walk into my office with skepticism concerning what hypnosis can really do for them, but soon discover that their long-standing addictions, struggles with depression, or other deep-rooted problems are all obstacles that can be removed permanently. Regardless of our starting point, we are all capable of greater happiness in our lives through attention to the power of our unconscious minds. This part of our mind, which is largely untapped yet so crucial to our perspective on every event and person in our lives, can be trained to look at any detail that currently makes us unhappy through a completely different lens.

I was reflecting on happiness today and I began to think about the impact of our physical environment on the ease with which we are happy. By this, I am not just referring to having beautiful pillows on our couch or a lush flower garden in which to meditate. In this instance, my curiosity is on a larger scale. Is there a part of the country that lends itself to a greater sense of peace and bigger smiles?

I live in California, and there certainly is plenty to love about my beautiful state. We have beaches that frame spectacular sunsets, amazing mountains, temperate weather, and forests that promptly put humans in their place. But, did you know that, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, people in Utah had the highest levels of well-being? Other top scorers included Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado, and Minnesota. On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia was branded with the unfortunate title of being the unhappiest state in America. The researchers looked at six different areas when making their determinations—life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access. The participants were asked a series of questions over the phone in a study that took over a year to complete. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job? Do you have health insurance? Have you smiled or laughed today? I would agree that the answers to all of these questions may influence your level of happiness.

I am not implying that simply moving to a new location will improve your level of happiness. In order to achieve genuine self-love and a fulfilling life, you need to do the work that will remove the psychological burdens that hold you back. However, it is interesting to think about how the lifestyle, culture, and even weather of our chosen home can have an impact on our well-being. I encourage you to spend some time really looking at the place you live. Are there specific positives that foster your health, or negatives that must be overcome, in your neighborhood or town?

Check out my Book and CD and maybe this will give you some help:

I would love to hear about where you live and its contribution to your happiness.

Please leave a comment on this blog so that all of us can learn!

Shayn Cutino

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