While you can find something positive about any town, there are a few cities that are extra good for your mental health. Whether it’s because of the environment, the accessibility, or the work-life balance, living in these areas is said to do wonders for your well-being.
To find out which are the best cities for mental health, lawn company LawnStarter compared over 190 of the biggest U.S. cities by looking at 33 metrics, including access to green space (like parks and trails), mental health resources, meditation classes, and urban gardens, as well as the cost of living and even the average sleep level of the people who live there. All of these things, of course, can impact how you feel day to day.
Topping the list is Naperville, Illinois, which took first place overall and in the financial wellness category, thanks to the financial stability of its residents. Next up was Pasadena, California — the city with the most meditation classes — followed by Seattle, Washington. According to the survey, Seattle came in third because the city is all about meditation, running, biking, and yoga, which may explain why the area scored so high in LawnStarter’s physical wellness and mindfulness categories.
Seattle also has easy access to green space. Erin Dierickx, LMFTA, a licensed marriage and family therapist associate who lives in the west coast city, can attest to this. “Green space invites exploration, fun, adventure, exercise, and the opportunity to be outside and connect with others through shared movement and interest in nature,” she tells Bustle. Read: all good things for boosting the mood.
“Green space invites exploration, fun, adventure, exercise, and the opportunity to be outside and connect with others through shared movement and interest in nature.”
Coming in the number four spot is Fremont, California followed by San Fransisco — two more mental wellness-promoting areas in Cali. While LawnStarter pointed out that folks in San Fransisco tend to go too far when it comes to overworking, they make up for it with an otherwise healthy lifestyle and access to mental health resources. Next up on the list is Bellevue, Washington followed by Alexandria, Virginia, two cities that are “full of therapists” as well as financially-stable, healthy, and well-rested adults, according to LawnStarter. Alexandria came in with a top ranking for its access to exercise classes and gyms, too.
The eighth best city in the U.S. for mental health? Irvine, California followed by Fort Collins, Colorado, a city with plenty of access to therapy. Fort Collins was also revealed to be the most “well-rested city” on the list. Since working long hours and getting limited sleep is bad for your brain, it makes perfect sense why this is such a deciding factor.
The number 10 spot goes to Santa Rosa, California, which also gets top marks for its laidback vibes. (That makes five out of 10 hailing in California!) “A laidback lifestyle can impact mental health by reducing stress and having less pressure to perform or be ‘on’ all the time,” says Ryanne Mellick, a mental health therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city that ranks as number 19 on the list. “Also, access to therapy is key. Access to services and support is so important for mental wellness and can have a huge impact on a person's overall well-being and mental wellness.”
Erin Dierickx, LMFTA, licensed marriage and family therapist associate
Ryanne Mellick, mental health therapist