How To Find YOUR Happiest Place to Live

Finding your happiest place to live may seem like an overly complicated puzzle. When breaking it down, it becomes quite easy.

Identify your desired self Image in relation to your meaningful relationships, interests, and charitable focus. Once you establish these three specifications within a geographic zone, your happiest place to live will be self-evident.

Happiness is a result of action. As such you need to create an environment in which happiness can be present 1. Finding the correct environment requires reverse engineering by plotting out the aforementioned three criteria within an area.

You can be extremely specific or a bit more general in your approach. Below are a few ideas on how to do this effectively and why these three criteria are important.

Understand Your Image

Unhappiness equals self-image minus reality or U=I-R 1.

Everyone has an Image of who they are as a person. Often reality compared to our self-image is very different, and this gap will equate to a level of unhappiness we possess.

Logically, in order to match reality to our self-image requires action. As such, happiness is a consequence of action. Happiness doesn’t just happen. You don’t suddenly get hit with happiness. You observe your surroundings and then based on those surroundings that you had agency in creating, you are happy.

The first step to finding your happiest place to live is to map out the differences between your image vs reality based on the three criteria you can see below. Addressing your image vs reality of these three criteria will greatly assist in finding a location where you will be happy.

Identify The Location Of Your Meaningful Relationships

The first criteria is meaningful relationships.

Meaningful relationships are one of the major predictors of happiness 2. The current academic take is that the quality over quantity of these relationships matters most in determining your happiness.

You should plot out the locations of all your most meaningful relationships within your country or state. Do this on Google Maps with pins, or you can use other software or hardware that you are familiar with.

This plot will give you a quick view in seeing if there are any clusters or even spread of your favorite human beings.

There are many biological, and psychological reasons why human beings need close relationships. Living in close proximity to these meaningful relationships will inherently provide you with the opportunity to meaningfully engage in their lives as they would yours.

Figure out a location or zone that you think will maximize your opportunity to visit and or participate in the lives of as many people within your close circle as possible.

The next two criteria will help you identify zone locations that could fall on top of or as close as possible to your maximal meaningful relationship locations.

Identify Your Interests

The second criteria is Interest.

This may include career focus and hobbies. Identify the locations of your Interest or preferred work environments.

If for example, you enjoy water skiing or surfing, living in an area where that activity doesn’t exist is not going to help you fulfill those interests.

If your career focus has a hub of activity within a centralized location, for example, movies and Hollywood, then benefiting from that proximal location to further your career should be considered.

Balancing these two considerations and finding overlap will require some additional research or some out-of-the-box thinking on how it could work.

If you are lucky and your interests can be in the same location as your career, then it’s about looking to see if your relationships and charity, next criteria, are compatible.

Identify Your Preferred Charity

Giving back has been proven to significantly make people who give feel happy. 3

Charity can be done in many different ways.

Whether this is being active in the sense of nonprofit organizations.


Creating a mentorship platform where you can teach or give back to persons needing assistance in your chosen field.


Being part of your local active community. This could be in helping your neighbors. such as a neighborhood watch, or small business groups or local school fundraisers etc.

The key takeaway is imparting your agency towards a cause that you feel is best suited to your talents and desire to see succeed in its mission.

Some organizations of interest may have larger group centers in only specific locations, for example, the RSPCA headquarters or Children’s Hospital. You should do your research and identify these locations on a map.

Putting Your Happiest Location Together

Once you have labeled these criteria on a map, you should start to see clusters of preferred locations.

If you’re still struggling, here are a few ideas that may help to find your best location.

Rank these criteria in importance. The highest priority is relationships, with the lowest being charity. Consider if your career, interest, or charity can be done online or in a remote setting.

How deeply have you investigated into career or interests? look to local Facebook groups or pages along with community leaders in the region.

When looking into a potential new area you don’t know what you don’t know. You may discover something new that could change how you ranked an area.

Is Your Preferred Location Unfeasable

If you have a perfect overlap then well done. For some, there may be a large distance between these three criteria, or there may be a significant reason why living in the happiest location is no longer feasible.

If you are still struggling to find this area due to circumstances beyond your control, by which I mean war, safety, or forced relocation etc. The United States Declaration of Independence has laid out a simple pretext formula.

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. 4

Without life, there can be no liberty; without liberty (freedom) there cannot be a pursuit of happiness. Approach the journey to happiness in this order.

Once you have found an area that will work for your close relationships, interests, and charity, you may then wish to consider how to choose the best suburb or local town.

To learn how to do this within Australia, you can read, How to Choose Your Favourite suburb

  1. PragerU[][]
  2. Bernstein, Shimon et al 2013, 821-833,[]
  3. 1 Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Akin, Michael I. Norton (2008). Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science 21 March 2008: Vol. 319, Issue 5870, pp. 1687-1688.,matters%20most%20to%20our%20happiness.[]
  4. Declaration of Independence 1776,[]

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