You could have a beautiful home, a fat checking account, the “perfect” body and a dream job – but what is any of that without good mental health? A stable, happy brain is the lens through which we experience everything in life. That’s why mental health should be a top priority for all – above getting your money right or losing those final 10 pounds. Unfortunately, the data shows that globally, mental health might not be receiving the attention and resources it needs. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one in five American adults live with a mental illness, and 16 million Americans live with depression. NAMI also reports that Black people face more stigmatization surrounding mental health issues than other racial groups and often receive compromised care.
In some cases, the assistance of a mental health professional, paired with medication, is necessary. However, there are things one can do to naturally improve their mental well-being. Simply put, there are some resources every human being needs to feel well – resources that we’re often deprived of in our busy, industrial society. Some cities allow more access to mental health-boosting elements than others. Lawn care company Lawnstarter, released a report on the best cities for mental health (find the full list here). Here’s a list of the top 8 and exactly makes them so good for one’s mental health.
Mental Health Factors To Consider
The survey exploring the best cities for mental health analyzed several factors in determining happiness and stability levels. Even if you do not live in one of these cities, there’s something to be learned about what the residents of these spots are doing correctly. You might not be able to change the entire culture in your town, but you can borrow some of the practices from these mentally well cities. Common elements found in the top mentally healthy cities include:
- A Low divorce rate. Having a happy marriage is a big contributor to feeling good. In fact, a report released by the Institute for Family Studies found that married people are overall happier than unmarried people, including those who are divorced, widowed or separated.
- Financial stability. Not surprisingly, being free of money worries is a leading contributor to feeling mentally well. Some of the top cities on this list see some of the highest financial stability.
- Access to mental health services. Expecting perfect mental health all of the time isn’t reasonable for any place. But some of the top cities on this list mitigate mental health issues by having access to excellent mental health resources.
- Access to green spaces. It’s long been known that humans evolved to crave access to the outdoors. In fact, NAMI reports that there are several studies showing a link between time spent outdoors and reduced depression and anxiety.
- An exercise-centric culture. If you can spend that time outdoors pumping iron, even better. Some of the top cities on this list are big on exercise and fitness. It’s been shown that exercise releases chemicals in the brain that promote happiness.
- Sufficient sleep. Some of the most mentally well cities get enough sleep. The Sleep Foundation reports that a lack of sleep can lead to increased mental health issues and that mental health issues can lead to poor sleep, so the two have a close and important connection.
- A mindfulness culture. Cities (many West Coast ones) that have a big mindfulness culture where activities like yoga and meditation are popular topped the list.
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