When you’ve tried everything, yet you still feel that your life is in a rut, changing your environment can seem like a great decision.
Our houses reflect who we are, so it’s not unusual to expect that changing our home will help us feel more joy and satisfaction. But hoping that the environment will make you happy is a tricky expectation that depends on many factors that you need to consider.
Making a move can make you feel more joyful and enthusiastic about life, but beware that it might be a fleeting feeling.
It is crucial to examine whether or not making such a drastic change will make you happier in the long run — or will it only cover up a more prominent issue?
Find Out What’s Making You Unhappy
Dig deeper into what makes you unsatisfied about your current situation before turning your life upside down with such a radical step like moving. Is the reason within your control? In which ways do you think moving will help? Try to find the root cause. Otherwise, you could end up with band-aid solutions that aren’t permanent.
If we turn to science for thought, it seems to support the idea that the environment isn’t as important as your quality of life. Scientists Daniel Kahneman and David A. Schkade researched the example of “sunny living in California” to discover that it’s not always as sunny as it seems. A belief that you would necessarily be happier in another city can be a “focusing illusion,” meaning “Easily observed and distinctive differences between locations are given more weight in such judgments than they will have in reality,” as Kahneman and Schkade note in their study.
So, even if you move to a better area with more prospects and nicer weather — your life follows wherever you go.
How Can Moving Make You Happy?
Improving our satisfaction and quality of life is a never-ending quest. And to make this journey valuable, you first need to address all possible factors that play a role in a person’s happiness levels. Here are some that can be affected by moving according to NDMS.
Change in Weather
Kahneman’s and Schkade’s research showed that there isn’t a big difference in average satisfaction levels between those accustomed to living in sunny California and others living in gloomier climates after a while. While it’s true that greater emphasis has to be placed on the overall quality of life, the weather still plays its role, mainly depending on your personality.
Some people are severely affected by the weather and can even end up with depression that presents itself during certain times of the year, known as a seasonal affective disorder. You shouldn’t wait until your mental health suffers to search for a place that will provide a more suitable environment and help you feel better.
If you have the opportunity and you notice that you don’t enjoy rainy weather or desert heat, it is entirely okay to relocate. As long as you don’t expect the weather to wipe out all of your problems and you’re working toward improving your life, it could be a smart decision.
Maybe the most incredible perk of relocating is the chance to start anew. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been stuck in a vicious circle of daily routines. You were waking up at the same time, working at a desk job you don’t enjoy, doing the same things over and over again.
When you move, you get a change of scenery, which is most often exciting and produces endorphins — in other words, it makes you happy. Meaningful life changes like big breakups or losing someone you love are often linked to “rediscovering yourself,” your needs, and your wants. Moving to a new place can evoke the same feeling.
If you got into a loop of unhealthy habits or the wrong group of friends, making significant changes while in your current living situation can be very challenging, sometimes even impossible. Relocating can give you the freedom to rebuild your sense of self without the past bonds that hold you back. It’s entirely up to you what you want to do with your new freedom.
Moving to a different city or state means meeting new people who may or may not have expectations of you. With this freedom, you can be the person you’ve always wanted to be and live the life you’ve always desired but have been unable to due to prior circumstances. When you move to a new place, your horizons are opened up, and your self-awareness and attitude are rediscovered.
Will Your Job Change?
Did you know that 85% of 1 billion employed people are unhappy with their job? And if you count all the hours you spend working, it’s no surprise that our careers take such a detrimental toll on our mental and physical well-being.
If you’re stuck doing what doesn’t fulfill you or you work in a toxic environment, maybe it’s time to move on. Finding a new job can be a challenging task, but it shouldn’t be impossible with all the digital resources available.
Relocating to a new city and starting a new job can make a massive difference in improving your mental health.
Find a Community
Will changing cities automatically give you new friends? The answer is no, but in many cases, moving can help you make friends — especially if you move from a remote area to a big city or a place that matches your demographic. If you’re in your 20s and living in the heartland of Kansas, you may struggle to find people with compatible interests.
Famous cartoonist and author of Peanuts, Charles Schulz, was right when he said that “In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with.”
Having a supportive community and friends is a lot more healing than the place itself. It brings you the feeling of belonging, safety, and happiness. If you don’t currently have that, maybe it’s time to focus on meeting new and meaningful people and cultivating what you already have.
How To Decide if You Should Move
Many factors affect our happiness levels, and very few of them involve our geological location. Still, a move can be just what you need to climb out of that rut.
Think about all the reasons why you want to relocate before you make a decision. Is it possible to fix any of these problems in your present location, and in which ways do you think moving will affect your quality of life?
Try to find the root cause of your unhappiness, and see what you can do from there. Big life changes don’t happen because of the number of miles you’ve traveled. It begins within you, and relocating can only be a helping hand to it.