Throughout the year we get plenty of spam emails here at the radio station dealing with facts, figures, studies, and claims that talk about Missouri. It's mostly a desperate ploy by companies trying to seduce us into writing about whatever they're selling or getting us to link to their blog site in articles. Yet the latest spam email to do that came with the subject line that we're some of the unhappiest people in the United States. I got suckered in. So is it true?

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The email I got from Top Agency says that Missourians are some of the unhappiest people in the United States. Why? They cite mental and physical health. The State's social policies. Missourians' personal relationships. The leisure activities we have available to us and employment. Put all those together and Missouri ranks 42nd on the list of the happiest states in the U.S. Or to be more specific, There are only eight states with people unhappier than we are.

Of course a study, any study on this deals with generalities. So I thought, someone else has had to study the happiness of Missourians. Let's see what that says. I found one from Wallet Hub that sort of did the same thing. They measured happiness by measuring emotional and physical well-being, work, and community/environment.

The results were very similar with Missouri placing 41st on their list.

Yet, isn't happiness what you make it? I think so because I've met plenty of Missourians who do enjoy living in West Central Missouri. They have jobs and careers they value, they enjoy the leisure activities available in our area including the Katy Trail and at The Lake of the Ozarks. They have lifelong friends. Some have even chosen to stay here or move here because they like it.

If you're struggling with happiness, here are some things the Mayo Clinic says you can do to live a happier life:

  • Eat nourishing food and make healthy eating choices.
  • Sleep seven to eight hours a night.
  • Spend time with people you enjoy being with, and avoid those who don't relate well to you or have negative outlooks.
  • You don't want to avoid news but limit your news consumption. Just because news is offered 24-7 doesn't mean you need to consume it 24-7.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do something that you enjoy and that's meaningful to you every day.
  • Think good thoughts for others.

Both the studies from Top Agency and Wallet Hub name Hawaii as the number one state for happiness, yet, I think the good news is you don't have to move there to be happy. You don't even have to leave Missouri, unless of course, following your bliss leads you somewhere else. The real story might be that happiness is in our control, but that's not as fun as saying where you live is the problem.

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