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Medicine Science

Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live? 364

Ed writes "Apparently, the Centers for Disease Control released a study indicating that geography can have a significant impact on mood. You may not be surprised to learn that Kentucky is more depressing than Hawaii. However, ranking up there with Hawaii are Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Frustratingly, they have not yet published the study on the web, so it is left as an exercise for the reader to find the original study and post a link for the rest of us."
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Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live?

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  • Hmmm ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Xaemyl ( 88001 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @07:51PM (#27592717)

    Live in a crappy neighborhood makes for crappy moods? Lemme be the first to tell the CDC: DUUUH!

    • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Funny)

      by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:02PM (#27592801) Homepage

      Since crappy neighborhood probably mean you are there for a reason, such as unemployed / low income and such, yes.

      Personally I live in Sweden and the lack of light and low d-vitamine levels probably don't help much either.

      That and virgin at 30.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:25PM (#27593349)

        Personally I live in Sweden and ... virgin at 30.

        But Anheuser-Busch says that all Swedish babes are hot and will jump in bed with you if you drink Bud-wei-ser?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by baegucb ( 18706 )

          Wisconsin is a great place to live. Even the auto dealers get in the spirit: []

    • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:14PM (#27592909)

      Yeah. I recently moved from a crummy polluted inland rat-race city to a beautiful coastal more relaxed and cleaner well-run city, and everyone told me crap like "if you're not happy here, you're not going to be happy there, because your problems are internal" ... well, surprise, I *am* a lot happier. Much happier. Haven't missed the old place (though I lived there over 30 years) for one minute. And I almost believed those idiots.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        And I almost believed those idiots.

        So you're saying that the new place makes you cranky?

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Funny)

        by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:23PM (#27592959)

        Still, even in what the popular consensus holds to be the happiest of places, the following quotation could still apply:

        Ursa Minor is almost certainly the most appalling place in the universe. Though it is excruciatingly rich, horrifyingly sunny and more full of wonderfully exciting people than a pomegranate is of pips, it can hardly be insignificant that when a recent edition of the magazine Play-Being headlined an article with the words "When You Are Tired of Ursa Minor You Are Tired of Life" the suicide rate in the constellation quadrupled overnight.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:24PM (#27593681)

        Yeah, I've pretty much learned to ignore anyone who claims that "happiness comes from within" or that "your problems are internal." I mean, there are some cases where they are, but in most cases they're because of a shitty job, shitty friends, shitty location, or other shittiness.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Or the fact that when you go to the local store you are surrounded by redneck slack jaws. Around here, rolling out of bed and going shopping in your P.J.'s and slippers is normal, dragging along you 27 kids that have not been bathed in 3 weeks.

          They all pile in the pickup truck and drive on down to the store to wander around. Even sams club has them. I feel like I'm living in Alabama, but with snow... even the rich people around here are stupid. At least in Ann-Arbor I could know that the kid at Mc-dona

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mdarksbane ( 587589 )

          We are strongly influenced by our environment, but the strongest constant factor in your environment is you.

          So you may be depressed because your environment sucks, but who else is going to fix it?

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:4, Funny)

        by rumith ( 983060 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:42AM (#27594803)
        A "well-run city"? What is that? :-) More importantly, where is that?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blackest_k ( 761565 )

        yes I did it too and I'm happier and healthier too but to be honest its kind of obvious when you think about it.
        If your not happy in a place then theres only a couple of things that can improve, a better job and a new lover both of these are held back due to your state of mind.
        If your not happy who's going to want to be with you?

        So a change of location can raise the spirits give a positive outlook and make you more attractive to others and possibly improve your job prospects.
        I guess it doesn't always work o

    • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:34PM (#27593031)

      Live in a crappy neighborhood makes for crappy moods? Lemme be the first to tell the CDC: DUUUH!

      I don't know how many times I've read of someone discovering a self-reenforcing feedback loop of one kind or another and reporting it as a hitherto unknown and insightful fact.

      Life, as many people have spotted, is, of course, terribly unfair. For instance, the first time the Heart of Gold ever crossed the galaxy the massive improbability field it generated caused two hundred and thirty-nine thousand lightly-fried eggs to materialize in a large, wobbly heap on the famine-struck land of Poghril in the Pansel system. The whole Poghril tribe had just died out from famine, except for one man who died of cholesterol-poisoning some weeks later.

      The Poghrils, always a pessimistic race, had a little riddle, the asking of which used to give them the only tiny twinges of pleasure they ever experienced. One Poghril would ask another Poghril, "Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?" to which the second Poghril would reply, "I don't know, why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?" to which the first Poghril would reply, "I don't know either. Wretched, isn't it?"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:11PM (#27592877)

      My university network has fulltext access to the journal. The journal article doesn't seem to be available yet, but the publisher's press release [] is. From the Dread Publisher Elsevier:

      San Diego, CA, 14 April 2009 - Frequent Mental Distress (FMD), defined as having 14 or more days in the previous month when stress, depression and emotional problems were not good , is not evenly distributed across the United States. In fact, certain geographic areas have consistently high or consistently low FMD incidence, as shown in a study published in the June 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

      Combining data from annual large-scale surveys in 1993-2001 and 2003-2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that the adult prevalence of FMD was 9.4% overall, ranging from 6.6% in Hawaii to 14.4% in Kentucky. FMD prevalence varied both over time and by geographic area within states. From the earlier period to the later period, the mean prevalence of FMD increased by at least 1 percentage point in 27 states and by more than 4 percentage points in Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Appalachian and the Mississippi Valley regions had high and increasing FMD prevalence, and the upper Midwest had low and decreasing FMD prevalence.

      The state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) has asked questions about mental health since 1993 and collects data from random telephone surveys of adult residents across the U.S. More than 1.2 million people were surveyed in each of the two periods. FMD prevalence was determined by county, and the results were smoothed to reduce variation from random sampling due to small sample sizes in less populous counties.

      For the 1993-2001 period, the smoothed FMD prevalence was less than 8% in 31.8% of the 3112 counties analyzed and was 12.0% in 4.8% of the counties. For the 2003-2006 period, the smoothed FMD prevalence was "Because FMD often indicates potentially unmet health and social service needs, programs for public health, community mental health and social services whose jurisdictions include areas with high FMD levels should collaborate to identify and eliminate the specific preventable sources of this distress," said Dr. Matthew M. Zack, the study's lead investigator. "With the growing scientific literature linking FMD to treatable mental illnesses and preventable mental health problems, the increased use of these surveillance data in community mental health decision making is especially warranted. The continued surveillance of mental distress may help these programs to identify unmet needs and disparities, to focus their policies and interventions and to evaluate their performance over time."

      The article is "Geographic Patterns of Frequent Mental Distress: U.S. Adults, 1993-2001 and 2003-2006" by David G. Moriarty, BS, Matthew M. Zack, MD, MPH, James B. Holt, PhD, Daniel P. Chapman, PhD, MSc and Marc A. Safran, MD, MPA, DFAPA, FACPM. It appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 36, Issue 6 (June 2009) published by Elsevier.

    • Is there a bigger one? It is making me sad (from CA). :P

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Three R's of Portland
      Why Portland Sucks

      "Latte Town" was coined a few years back and is the most appropriate term for the City of Portland that I have ever heard. A Latte town consists of mostly white, educated baby boomers and young single people. The inhabitants of the town are usually newcomers who have priced out all the original inhabitants. These towns are usually expensive, pretentious, abound in natural fibers and are laid back on the surface. Latte towns like Portland pride themselves on their

  • My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @07:53PM (#27592731)

    As soon as I hear a fucking moron with 5000W of "boom-boom-boom" noise coming my way, my blood pressure goes up.

    We got laws against noisy car exhausts but no laws against braindead, anti-social psychopaths who annoy everyone in a 3 miles radius with their loud so-called music.

    I'm getting my gun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Florida's the opposite way. There is a law against car stereos [albeit never enforced], but no car inspection and no regulations about mufflers and engine noise from vehicles and motorcycles. Then again, Florida is a shithole.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by neurovish ( 315867 )

        Really? From Florida Statute 316.293 []:

        (2) OPERATING NOISE LIMITS.--No person shall operate or be permitted to operate a vehicle at any time or under any condition of roadway grade, load, acceleration, or deceleration in such a manner as to generate a sound level in excess of the following limit for the category of motor vehicle and applicable speed limit at a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel under measurement procedures established under subsection (3).

        (a) For motorcycles other than motor-driven cycles:
        Sound level limit
        Speed limit
        35 mph or less Speed limit
        over 35 mph
        Before January 1, 1979 82 dB A 86 dB A
        On or after January 1, 1979 78 dB A 82 dB A

        (b) For any motor vehicle with a GVWR or GCWR of 10,000 pounds or more:
        Sound level limit
        Speed limit
        35 mph or less Speed limit
        over 35 mph
        On or after January 1, 1975 86 dB A 90 dB A

        (c) For motor-driven cycles and any other motor vehicle not included in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b):
        Sound level limit
        Speed limit
        35 mph or less Speed limit
        over 35 mph
        Before January 1, 1979 76 dB A 82 dB A
        On or after January 1, 1979 72 dB A 79 dB A

        There is also

        (a) No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle or any other noise-abatement device of a motor vehicle operated or to be operated upon the highways of this state in such a manner that the noise emitted by the motor vehicle is above that emitted by the vehicle as originally manufactured.

        These are of course rather spottily enforced, and if you looked at the statistics I'm sure you'd find a large number of import cars cited and a much smaller number of domestics and motorcycles.

    • Re:My mood? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:00PM (#27592781) Homepage

      Personally, I prefer noisy places to silent places. I currently reside part of the year in Finland, and the taciturn nature of the people and the strict noise laws only add to the depression caused by the lack of sunlight and long winters. When I leave Finland for somewhere like Cairo or Hong Kong, it's like rejoining civilization.

      Back in the 1960s, Larry Niven (in World of Ptaavs, now collected in Three Books of Known Space [] ) suggested that the future will get ever noisier, thanks to a rising population and people living closer together in the metropolis, necessitating changes in human evolution. Well, nowadays sound-proofing materials and noise-canceling headphones are getting cheaper and cheaper, so noise is a nuisance that can be overcome.

      • Re:My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:17PM (#27592925) Journal

        Except that I don't mind hearing normal sounds outside. Kids playing. Birds chirping. Folks talking. But the unemployed teenager who somehow can get a $5,000 sound system into his $500 chevy... That I don't want to hear.

      • Re:My mood? (Score:4, Funny)

        by francium de neobie ( 590783 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:03PM (#27593567)
        I live in Hong Kong. The noise, pollution and traffic in the urban area sucks. The stupid consumerist culture sucks. You can buy a noise canceling headphone or in-canal earphone to eliminate the noise, but you can't eliminate the pollution and wasted time caused by the traffic. You also can't stop your friends from showing you "bling" even though they actually earn less than you. Oh, and even my mom is wasting MY money for those useless bling, fuck.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MaWeiTao ( 908546 )

        Having lived in a noisy, dense city in Asia I've found I prefer that environment over where I live now. But I realized there is a distinction. In the city there was a constant din of background noise so it was rare for individual sounds to really stand out.

        On the other hand, for years I lived in more of a semi-urban environment, I guess the best way to describe it is a border area between quieter suburbs and a busier, lower-income area. The noise was annoying as hell because it would be fairly quiet much of

    • the whistles go whoooooooo whooooooooooooooooo []
    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      so there's a data point for Texas. Anyone else?

      • Re:My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @01:17AM (#27594539)
        I'm quite happy living in Texas 10 months out of the year. July and August can go to hell. I doubt it's about where you live more than it's about how you live. I'd rather live in a mansion with everything I've ever wanted in north Alaska than be a minimum wage cubicle jockey in Hawaii or Southern California.
    • >"We got laws against noisy car exhausts..."

      Noisy exhausts save lives - do your part.

    • Re:My mood? (Score:5, Funny)

      by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @11:28PM (#27593983)
      xkcd has a better solution [] to your problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:05PM (#27592831)

    and I'm in a shitty mood. Whats your point?

  • It's here [].
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:13PM (#27592891) Journal

    ...not in post natal PMS Hells-ville, so I don't think the article quite holds.

    If you're reading this honey, just kidding! Love you! Let's go shopping for an eternity ring... ;-)

  • Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:15PM (#27592913)

    I moved FROM Wisconsin to Oregon 5 years ago and I have to say my life is far more diverse now, far more cheery. When I deal with people from "back home" they don't seem to be happy so much as living in willful ignorance.

    I guess what I'm saying is my anecdotal experience is that people in the "more depressed" regions are more aware of their true mood and perhaps answer more honestly because of it?

    • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:02PM (#27593241)
      That summarises my experience with many people in the US. They are convinced that their country, their way of doing things, their existence is the ultimate mode of being. Having come here from Australia, I can tell you that there is plenty of room for improvement; it seems that they believe they have/are the best of everything simply because they've never looked (let alone lived) outside of their own backyard.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        That summarises my experience with many people in the US. They are convinced that their country, their way of doing things, their existence is the ultimate mode of being.

        That's the standard belief of any (physically and economically) expanding civilization. But now that it has expanded as much as it can, it's slowly turning into Europe,,,

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That summarises my experience with many people in the US. They are convinced that their country, their way of doing things, their existence is the ultimate mode of being. Having come here from Australia, I can tell you that there is plenty of room for improvement; it seems that they believe they have/are the best of everything simply because they've never looked (let alone lived) outside of their own backyard.

        The way you describe Americans sounds a lot like one of the Australians who posts here on Slashdot.

      • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:05AM (#27595081) Homepage
        Living in China as I do, the Chinese think the exact same thing. Although it's pretty telling that you only thought to criticize Americans: the worst, stupidest people in the world. Heck, I'm sure you could find people from Bangladesh who think that their country is the best...but no that would be racist, instead let's single the Americans out for criticism once again.
      • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bayoudegradeable ( 1003768 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:54AM (#27595803)
        SO TRUE. How many Americans have lived somewhere else? How do they know they are #1 at everything? Seriously, what does it mean to be a "proud American" if the only thing many (not all) Americans did was frickin' show up in the delivery room? Where is the achievement to cause pride? Immigrants that bust their ass and EARN citzenship; they have much to be proud of.

        That said. I agree with what many have said, "No shit!" Live in area with boom-boom cars, crack and meth problems, murder rates through the roof, recovering from a hurricane or two, broken public education system, corrupt politicians... yeah, that SHOULD affect your mood. When I lived in a medium Japanese city on the Sea of Japan at the foot of the Tateyama Range I had the best two years of my life. One of the greatest joys was not being worried about being car-jacked, mugged or hit up for spare change from the omnipresent crack-heads of the city where I live. Go figure, improve scenery, safety and quality of life and mood goes up, too. Mod researchers +5 Duh.
        • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:19AM (#27596441) Journal

          How many Americans have lived somewhere else?

          How many people have? It's fun to pick on Americans (they love it really...) but how many non-American do you know who have lived abroad? I've probably spent more time in different countries than a lot of my contemporaries - and even then I've missed out about half of the continents - but the longest I've spent living in a different country was a few months.

          Seriously, what does it mean to be a "proud American" if the only thing many (not all) Americans did was frickin' show up in the delivery room?

          This is something that bugs me about people all over the world, not just Americans. You have no right whatsoever to be proud of the fact that you happened to be born in a particular country - if it's really so great then you should be humbled because it means that you had a lot of advantages that other people lacked. You do, however, have a right to be proud of how you have helped improve your country. By saying that it is perfect already, you immediately deny yourself the chance to be part of improving it.

    • I also moved from WI to OR about 3 years ago. (I've lived in various places as well.) Personally, I honestly liked quite a few things about WI. (I'm from the Northwoods with lots of hills and lakes and open places).

      I simply got sick of the long freezing-cold winters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MozeeToby ( 1163751 )

      I'm originally from WI too and I'm going to have to disagree. Little known fact, WI has more golf courses than almost any other state, it has the largest water parks, and a ton of recreational lakes for fishing and/or skiing. Keep in mind that most of those activities can only be done for 4 or 5 months out of the year. Then there's all the winter activities for the rest of the year. People in WI just know how to get out and have fun.

      Oh... and WI is also the drunkest state per capita. That might have so

      • by c_forq ( 924234 )
        There are actually more golf courses in Michigan, on the other side of the lake (at least public, maybe WI has MI beat if private are included). Michigan is also very high in the ski resorts, and has more registered snowmobiles than any other state. But my favorite stat is being second in amount of coastline (more than Florida!).
    • by mls ( 97121 )

      Where in Wisconsin did you move from? From the Time article, it looks like mood is worse in SE Wisconsin (go figure) than the rest of the state.

    • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Malc ( 1751 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @11:25PM (#27593973)

      Have you considered that perhaps there's a difference between people who stay in one place all their lives, and those that migrate to somewhere else? I'd never go back to where I'm from, even though I know people who are happy there, and it's supposed to be one of the better parts of the country to live in. Except for the ones who've taken charge of their lives (a minority), they all seem to make mountains out of molehills over issues that I think are non-starters these days.

      As somebody's who taken charge of your life and moved somewhere else, you've already proven a different mindset to those back where you came from. Furthermore, you're probably meeting people more akin to your current mindset, so your world is already an easier or different place to cope with.

      There's something to be said for troubles being internal and relocating with you. But when you relocate, you have to build your life up again and sometimes you learn new behaviours or break out of bad habits or ruts. You're definitely more open to change when you move environments, which I think is key to a healthy life. Those who resist change or try to control it are doomed to struggle and perhaps unhappiness.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aztektum ( 170569 )

        Oh totally I have. My family and many of my friends back home spend most of their time simply "going through the motions". Sure they will take a vaca to somewhere nice and sunny to relax, but that's once or twice every 5 years. I notice the same mentality with native Oregonians, they have blinders on, but the people that have moved here have been to many other places and are very aware of their attitudes, unlike where I came from where it's mostly lifers. Where I moved to in particular (Portland) has a lot

    • by MiKM ( 752717 )
      What part of Wisconsin? Madison is a genuinely nice place to live. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the rural areas live in "willful ignorance".
  • Social Science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 )
    This is what fun about some reports on science. Given a set of data, one can always rank the data a state a conclusion even if there is no support for the data. This reminds of ads for safe cigarettes in which one cigarette had the least of certain substances.

    Then we get to that ambiguous science, social science, where measurements are never what they seen. In this case there were no measurements, merely self reported data. This is not like an obesity survey in which on can measure a weight, a height,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:31PM (#27592997)

    Way to ommit [] what happened in the intervening years between the two surveys.

    So people were happier before the 2 wars, 9/11, and dot-com bubble bursting than after 9/11, Iraq & Afghanistan, & 5 years of Bush deviciveness. What a shocker. Let me guess, these numbers are further down in surveys taken between 2H'08 & now (particularly in places like NY, Detroit, etc).

  • I live in Florida and this place F'ing sucks.
  • Sounds about right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:43PM (#27593089) Journal

    I live in Southern California. A few years ago I went to stay with some family in Milwaukee. I was there for about a week and one of the things that I noticed was how much more relaxed everyone was. The pace of life was really different. People seemed to take their time getting places and nobody really seemed to be in a big hurry to get anywhere. When waiting in line at places, there wasn't an urgency to get to the front. People took the time to talk to each other. It seemed like for the most part nobody had anything else better to do, and they were all living in the moment.

    I had an interesting experience when I got back to LA. After I got off of the plane, I was walking through the airport at Wisconson speed and seemed like people were hurrying by me. None the less, my mind was still in vacation mode and I was enjoying the tranquil feeling that was still with me. I got my car out of the parking lot and proceeded to drive home. As soon as I had to merge onto the freeway, I felt the rush of the rest of the world catch up with me. All of a sudden my brain kicked into high gear. It was like a survival mechanism. There was no way I could deal with the 405 freeway while in the Wisconson mindset.

    Conversely, I know people who have grown up in Southern California who then leave and hate where they end up. Almost universally, those who leave and miss California all say almost the same thing. "Everything here is too slow. There isn't enough to do." Personally, I can't wait to get out of here. I think the pace of life here sucks.

    • I hate to say this, because we're full already, but you'd probably like Seattle. It's laid-back without being stultifying. We have most of the intellectual and cultural amenities you'd find in the LA area, but everybody drives like they're on the way to a tax audit.

  • I moved from Seattle to Portland. One of my reasons was the better weather. People in Oregon laugh, but the weather really IS better than in Seattle; as a result, winters down here are a lot more tolerable than they ever were back home. Still waiting to see if that's going to last, but so far it's made a huge impact on my life.
  • I lived in North Dakota, it did not make me happy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I spent a week there one day

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:53PM (#27593179)

    I'm from the Internet. How do I fare in this survey?

  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:07PM (#27593277) Homepage Journal

    If you live in your parents's basement you will have a crappy mood.

  • I am from Seattle and it is common knowledge here that weather has a relation to feelings. At one point the city was #1 for depression and it has been shown that this is because of the constant overcast weather. People have taken to sticking their heads in light boxes to relieve the depression.

    Anyway, the point of all this is that the article was poorly written and is common sense. Also, it is sunny in Seattle right now and there are probably people who still have their head in a box.
  • Climate impacts mood, mood impacts culture, culture impacts economics.

    That this isn't a universally known theory causes some concern.

    • Except TFA lists Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas as being ranked close to Hawaii.

      I'd suspect that the local industries are the prime factor behind these statistics.

  • "Lonely people back in town. I saw it in the supermarket and at the Laundromat and when we checked out from the motel. These pickup campers through the redwoods, full of lonely retired people looking at trees on their way to look at the ocean. You catch it in the first fraction of a glance from a new face...that searching look...then it's gone.

    We see much more of this loneliness now. It's paradoxical that where people are the most closely crowded, in the big coastal cities in the East and West, the loneliness is the greatest. Back where people were so spread out in western Oregon and Idaho and Montana and the Dakotas you'd think the loneliness would have been greater, but we didn't see it so much.

    The explanation, I suppose, is that the physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It's psychic distance, and in Montana and Idaho the physical distances are big but the psychic distances between people are small, and here it's reversed.

    It's the primary America we're in. It hit the night before last in Prineville Junction and it's been with us ever since. There's this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what's immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what's right around them is unimportant. And that's why they're lonely. You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you're just a kind of an object. You don't count. You're not what they're looking for. You're not on TV.

    But in the secondary America we've been through, of back roads, and Chinaman's ditches, and Appaloosa horses, and sweeping mountain ranges, and meditative thoughts, and kids with pinecones and bumblebees and open sky above us mile after mile after mile, all through that, what was real, what was around us dominated. And so there wasn't much feeling of loneliness. That's the way it must have been a hundred or two hundred years ago. Hardly any people and hardly any loneliness. I'm undoubtedly over-generalizing, but if the proper qualifications were introduced it would be true..."

    • Thanks. I have "Lila" on the nightstand, waiting to be (re)started. (It's been that way for some considerable time.) Your post is a reminder to go back and revisit the earlier work -- it's been years, but I remember being consumed one summer and cramming the margins with notes and my own observations.

  • ...this space unintentionally left unblank...

  • by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:12PM (#27593627)
    The Appalachian Mountains may look pretty, but a large survey from the Centers for Disease Control found those who live around them tend to be more prone to emotional problems.

    Looks aren't everything. You know why Nebraska is the happiest state []? It isn't because you can throw a rock and hit an ear of corn, or drive outside of the Omaha/Lincoln areas and see nothing but flat fields for miles on end. This place is uglier than sin for the most part (save for a few choice spots like the Black Elk-Neihardt Park on top of the hill in Blair, for example), and the weather ranges from stupidly hot in July to inhospitably cold in January.

    But you know what? The economy is stable. Nobody's given up their football tickets. Companies are gonna need call centers. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to live in the city. The most crime-ridden spots in Omaha are a fucking day care center compared to other cities. It doesn't surprise me at all when TFA says that Midwestern states are ranked up there with Hawaii.
  • a result of my wifes bitchy mood swings and my damn kids. Other than that, I'm LIVING THE DREAM, BABY! ;-)

  • Winter here is extremely cold and summer extremely hot.

    What I've noticed is that summer just feels unbearable some years (temperature doesn't always matter) and it makes me so much more agitated, and tires me out a lot faster. Right now it's 14C in the afternoon outside and I'm having trouble keeping cool, and it just makes me angrier for some reason.

  • by owlman17 ( 871857 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:39PM (#27593751)

    I guess its not just 'where', but who you live with. A lot of posters have said that living in picture-perfect, tranquil, warm, less-populated places would give them better moods. Living with a bitchy/unreasonable spouse and noisy kids, like what a poster said a few comments up will make all the difference regardless of where you live. Given a choice between an unpleasant place with nice people and the other way around, I'd almost certainly choose the latter.

  • MN, SD, and AZ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:49PM (#27593801)

    I've lived in Minnesota, South Dakota (western & eastern), and Arizona, and it never ceases to amaze me how different lifestyles are from place to place. I think a lot of people's happiness issues could be solved by moving to a culture more suited to their personality.

    I have SAD, and in MN/eastern SD I had horrible winter time depression. Just moving to western SD where the sun shines through most of the winter made an incredible difference!!! I really liked the winter time there, at least as compared to Minnesota. The culture there also suited my tastes better. SD has a very low population density, which makes a difference, and like another poster mentioned earlier about Wisconsin, the pace of life is much slower and more relaxed. People there were always friendly, you could easily strike up a conversation with the guy next to you in line, and random folks would look out for you if you were in a bind. That's amazing.

    However, even though SD is sunny, my ancestry is from the middle-east and I am physically designed for a warm climate. Moving to Arizona was the ultimate realization of my American-continent destiny. :) I have never been happier.

    In the end, what I'm trying to say is, listen to what your body and mind are telling you. If you don't like where you're at, think hard about WHY you don't like it, and try to find a place that suits you better. If you don't like it, you can always go back.

  • My US geography is pretty shakey, but the reference to Hawaii makes me wonder if this is related to the relative amount of sunlight people get in different places. People who don't get enough can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder [] (ironically spelling SAD), which I understand is a kind of depression typically during winter months. Perhaps all year around the variation in sunlight between places, based on latitude and weather patterns, makes a difference...

    Folks from the states, is this one possible int

    • I wouldn't think so. The other low-stress regions are in the north where the winters are longer and harsher. I'd hazard it's more to do with local culture (and population density) than anything else. Having lived in Hawaii, despite people whingeing about how expensive everything is, it really is a far more laid back place than say, California. I've heard it's pretty laid-back in most of Wisconsin too.

  • Not possible: everyone else living here is blissfully ignorant and happy, but I'm not. Has nothing to do with geography, it has to do with intelligence, education, and degree of awareness.

    I'd like to quote a certain William Feather:

    "One of the indictments of civilization is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person."

  • It's tempting from an elitist Northern perspective to say that Kentucky is populated with depressed, beaten-down white trash, but South Dakota is a pretty red state, North Dakota is a nominally red state, as is rural Minnesota and Minnesota is no model of social equality.

    "Great Gatsby syndrome"? We people out here in the upper Midwest still believe the American dream can come true? Whether that's noble or we just haven't gotten the news yet is another question.

    Maybe it's the Norwegian, Swedish, German her

  • by justinlee37 ( 993373 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:25AM (#27594285)
    The roots of this correlation likely have little to do with literal geography and more to do with socio-economic groupings, local prices, and so on.
  • Most Livable Cities (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:01AM (#27594697) Homepage
    A related article is from Forbes: America's Most Livable Cities []. They rate the Portland, Maine metropolitan statistical area as the most livable city based on income growth, cost of living, crime, leisure, and unemployment.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun