Six Ways to Be Happy Where You Live
See the Good Aspects of Your Hometown
Do you sometimes find yourself singing along to the song, “We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place,” and meaning it? Do you feel trapped or bored in your hometown?
Perhaps you need to stay because of your job, or because your partner wants to live there. Maybe, you need to care for elderly parents, or it’s just too difficult to uproot the family.
Don’t despair! Here are six small steps to feeling happier where you live.
1. Write a Two-Minute Happy List
Melody Warnick, the author of This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, used to write a Happy List when she was young. This always made her feel better, so she advises people who hate where they live to simply focus on the positive aspects of their hometown. She suggests a simple two-minute exercise, designed to help you appreciate its good points.
Write down everything that you like about your hometown in two minutes or less in a journal. Then, copy it onto a post-it note and put it somewhere you visit often, such as the fridge.
For example, you might like the friendly people, the lovely summer weather, or a favorite beauty spot. Even if you struggle to find good things, there are sure to be one or two aspects of your town which you like.¹
2. Pretend to Be a Tourist in Your Town
Look at your town through the eyes of a tourist and visit the local landmarks. The best way to do this is to take a tour and discover more about the attractive areas.
There may even be free tours available, such as walking tours. A good history tour will teach you a lot about the town’s heritage and the important buildings. There may be interesting niche tours, such as ghost tours and literary tours.
Also, try a self-guided tour which you can do with the help of a book or your smartphone. For example, you can research the history of some areas of Brisbane, Australia, online, and visit them on the ferry. This type of tour will help you see your local area through fresh eyes and appreciate it more.
Heather Greenwood Davies, who lives in Toronto, Canada, writes that she has often seen “visitors’ faces light up at the wealth of attractions to be found,” such as “an architectural stunner like the CN Tower, cultural exploits in Little Portugal or Little Jamaica, first-class theater, or a meal that wows.”²
3. Go Walking in Your Local Area
Walking is another great way to explore your local area and meet your neighbors. Be sure to take a camera, so that you can photograph unusual or historic buildings, or flowers and birds which catch your eye.
If you have children and there is a playground nearby, walk there, and chat to them about your explorations.
Go to an area of your town that you don’t know very well and wander around the streets, looking for interesting landmarks, buildings, parks and other features. You’ll be surprised by how much you didn’t know about your hometown!
4. Make New Friends by Joining a Group or a Club
Many people join groups or clubs to make new friends. Search online for local groups, such as book groups or tennis clubs. Meet-up.com, a worldwide organization of local groups, will provide plenty of suggestions.
Active.com, designed specifically for sports, has lists of teams and clubs in local areas, and provides health content and educational information about different sports as well.
A walking group might be perfect if you’re not keen on sports, but you want some exercise while meeting new people.
If you can’t find a group you like, why not set one up?
5. Meet the Neighbors with a Street Party
Organize a street party. If you already know a few of your neighbors, see if they will help you set it up.
A street party doesn’t need to be complicated, especially if everyone brings some food to share and provides tables and chairs. Send out flyers or go door-knocking to tell people about the party.
Some councils even provide street party kits to help with the organization. One idea is to make your street party a regular celebration. For example, the residents of Mozart Street in Melbourne, Australia, always hold their party on Mozart’s birthday, on January 27.³
There are a few important things to remember, however, before you start. You may need to obtain permission from the council, especially if you want to close the street. Also, check on public liability insurance — the council will probably provide information about this.
6 . Join Your Friendly Local Library
Libraries often hold free talks and events, and provide rooms for group meetings, such as book clubs. They provide activities for children as well, such as sing-alongs and playgroups. Joining your local library is a fun and easy way to meet other like-minded people in your area.
Love Where You Live!
These are just some suggestions to help you enjoy your local town. There are many more! Have fun getting out and about and learning to love where you live.