Echo Park Lake

Most of us long to live in the way that feels most authentic and harmonious with our surroundings. That desire drives the choices we make when we decide on the kind of home we buy and how we go about decorating, but our larger surroundings, such as the neighborhood we live in, matter just as much in creating a happy life, and should influence our decision of where to buy a home.

According to Dan Buettner, who spent the past 15 years reporting for the  National Geographic on the happiest and healthiest people on the planet, one’s environment is paramount in making sure that you’ll likely to be happy for the long term.We’ve rounded up some of Dan’s suggestions to share with you as we step into spring (always the busy home-buying season), as they might come in useful as you tour Open Houses and envision your life in a new place.

Buettner suggests that, in terms of choosing a place to live, people who live near water—whether it’s a lake or river or an ocean—are about 10 percent more likely to be happy than people who don’t. Buettner also says that people who live in medium-sized cities are more likely to be happy than the anonymity of a big city or perhaps the too in-your-face, limited-possibility environment of a tiny town. You’re more likely to be happy if your house has a sidewalk, and if you live in a bikeable place.

Where do these suggestions take you in Los Angeles? For those that love bodies of water, the coastal areas like Venice Beach and Santa Monica are the obvious answers, but we also love Silver Lake with its beautiful Reservoir, Echo Park with its stunning lake and quiant paddle boats, and Atwater Village and Highland Park with their proximity to LA River and Arroyo Seco streams. All these neighborhoods have plenty of sidewalks and are bike-friendly, and have scenic views – by the way, there are also studies which claim that merely observing a fine view is health-enhancing, so tack that on to the benefits of living in LA.

Once you are happy with your location, Buettner offers some advice on what one can do to add a bit more joy to your immediate surroundings. “One facet of happiness is sum of positive emotions. So I like the idea of a “pride shrine”—a place in your house that you pass a lot where you put pictures that trigger pleasant memories. Or diplomas or awards that remind you of accomplishments.” Research also points at flowers and plants as sources of daily happiness, so get those in your home ASAP, along with six to seven hours of socializing a day. — That’s right! According to Buettner’s research, the happiest people communicate with other people that many hours per diem. (This must be one reason that we love working as real estate agents!)

If you are curious about a particular Los Angeles neighborhood or find yourself in need of advice regarding buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we would love to hear from you. Contact us and we’d be glad to discuss your real estate goals. And, according to Buettner’s research, if you give us a call, you’re pretty much guaranteed to become happier – by putting in some time towards those six to seven hours of socializing!

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