Living in a fast-paced city is key to happiness, research claims

Keeping yourself busy in a bustling environment could be extremely beneficial

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 19 June 2018 16:20 BST
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


There are many things that you can do to boost your happiness, such as eating chocolate, exercising regularly and snuggling with your pet.

However, leading a busy life in a fast-paced city could be the key to becoming truly content, research has claimed.

While urban environments are sometimes associated with greater levels of stress and anxiety, keeping yourself occupied on a daily basis has also been linked to greater levels of life satisfaction, as chartered mediator Dr Jeanette Bicknell explained.

“Among individuals in a society, busyness - or the feeling of busyness - seems to be an important factor in wellbeing,” she wrote in a blog post on Nautil.

“In US studies, the happiest people reported that they were busy, in the sense that they had little excess time, yet did not feel rushed.

“Like city-dwellers, they seemed to thrive at a faster pace.”

Dr Bicknell cited a study undertaken by Robert Levine from California State University Fresno and a team of researchers that investigated the pace of large cities from 31 different countries.

The study highlighted a positive correlation between the speed at which individuals carry out their lives and the state of the economy in which they live.

However, as Dr Bicknell pointed out, a person’s happiness is more likely to improve based on how they spend their time on a daily basis, as opposed to how much money they earn.

“According to the ‘Easterlin paradox’ (named after economist Richard Easterlin), once people have enough money to meet their basic needs, having more money is not necessarily correlated with higher self-reported happiness,” she wrote.

In October 2017, a study conducted by researchers from Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong assessed the health of 419,562 individuals from 22 British cities.

The study concluded that those living in higher-density areas were more likely to lead happier and more active lives than those living in suburban regions.

Despite the fact that there are negative side effects for an individual living in a city, such as an increased likelihood of becoming a smoker and a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, the fast-paced nature of city life is apparently ideal for reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Whether you decide to spend your time baking or would prefer to take up a new skill in your spare time, engaging in activities that you enjoy is key.

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