Some stunning new research:
People in sunny, outdoorsy states —Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida — say they're the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why. A new study comparing self-described pleasant feelings with objective measures of good living found these folks generally have reason to feel fine.
The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools.
Let me explain this one slowly to those of you who haven't that second cup of coffee yet. People who have reasons to be happy will be happy. Get that? If you are surrounded by good things, you will respond accordingly. Wow.
But, wait, there's more:
At the other end of the scale, last in happiness — is New York state.
As if to illustrate the problem, residents attending a meeting Wednesday in rural Queensbury unleashed their anger and cynicism at a state government they described as corrupt, self-dealing and too quick to increase taxes. It was a tirade that had one lifelong resident saying he was ready to flee "this stinkin' state."
Oswald suggested the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of the unhappiness.
So, not only do good things make people happy, the opposite is also true -- bad things make people unhappy. By God, this changes everything we've ever believed about the world, doesn't it.