Studies Show Moving Won’t Make You Happier

September 3, 2016 4:00 am

Despite what you may think, moving somewhere else won’t make you happier.

The idea that moving to a new place will make you happier is a popular one, but evidence suggests that it’s just not true. For one thing, the act of moving is associated with high stress and anxiety levels, and people who move frequently report feeling lonelier than people who don’t.

Second, the perception that a new community is better than the one you currently live is often a “focusing illusion” that overestimates the importance of easily observable differences between one place and another, as illustrated by a study that asked students in the Midwest and Southern California to rate each other’s overall environmental satisfaction.

Granted, there is a kernel of truth to this perception. Moving does make certain habit shifts (losing weight, quitting smoking) easier, and measurable differences in cost of living and demographics can affect happiness as well. But overall, it’s more advantageous to make the most of your current home than it is to seek out a new one. So if you’re counting on a change of scene to change everything better, it may be time for a rethink.

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