How Happy and Healthy is Your State?

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition among states to determine who is living the happiest and healthiest, and for the past nine years, Gallup and wellness provider Healthaways have surveyed thousands of people across the United States to determine which state’s residents have the best lives. This year’s winner – Hawaii.

The five elements measured include:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

According to the report, “In terms of state performance, Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota, three states with track records of high well-being, are 2016’s highest well-being states. Hawaii’s Well-Being Index score of 65.2 is the highest score of any state in the last three years, and Hawaii led the nation in financial, community and physical well-being. Alaska and Texas led the nation in social and purpose well-being, respectively.” Learn more about wellness here.

The states listed by rank are as follows:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Alaska
  3. South Dakota
  4. Maine
  5. Colorado
  6. Vermont
  7. Arizona
  8. Montana
  9. Minnesota
  10. Texas
  11. Florida
  12. Wyoming
  13. California
  14. Massachusetts
  15. Nebraska
  16. North Dakota
  17. Utah
  18. Idaho
  19. Iowa
  20. New Mexico
  21. Virginia
  22. New Hampshire
  23. Washington
  24. Oregon
  25. New Jersey
  26. North Carolina
  27. South Carolina
  28. Wisconsin
  29. Georgia
  30. Pennsylvania
  31. Maryland
  32. Kansas
  33. New York
  34. Nevada
  35. Connecticut
  36. Missouri
  37. Illinois
  38. Tennessee
  39. Michigan
  40. Delaware
  41. Mississippi
  42. Rhode Island
  43. Louisiana
  44. Alabama
  45. Ohio
  46. Arkansas
  47. Indiana
  48. Oklahoma
  49. Kentucky
  50. West Virginia

Addressing Motivation through Resiliency

Purpose, the first of the five elements measured is an essential criteria that is directly affected by our perception of our work. While many of us think that having an enlightened sense of purpose is a reflection of our job and the tasks we perform within our career, that is actually not true. Our purpose and motivation to achieve goals is highly reliant on our mindset and our ability to adapt through resilience. Whether we are the CEO of a multi-million dollar company or the customer care service provider, we can have similar sentiments of purpose when we take pride in our responsibilities and strive to be the best. When we are constantly challenging ourselves to be our new best and find the solution no matter how difficult the task was, we find the most value in our work and have a heightened sense of purpose.

Resilience and Sense of Purpose Enhances Well-Being

Many companies are realizing the financial value of overall employee wellness. What many organizations forget to realize though, is the immense impact our sense of purpose has on our overall wellness. Implementing organizational wellness programs has become a trending asset for a few years now, but many of the wellness programs today only address the physical aspects. While still very important, physical well-being only contains 20% of our measurement of happiness and health. Learning tools to develop our sense of purpose has immense effects on an improved sense of well-being and happiness and also our productivity at work. Learn more here.

According to Michael Thompson, President and CEO of National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, “Understanding and improving the well-being of employees should be foundational to the people strategy of any organization. Leading companies have shown that well-being is essential to an engaged and thriving workforce and a key building block to success and sustainability. It can be a force multiplier to the bottom line by directly influencing healthcare costs, resilience, and retention as well as to the top line through factors such customer satisfaction, sales and innovation.”

Helping Your Staff Help You

Happy, healthy employees are more engaged, dedicated and productive. They are better at forming relationships with their peers which in-turn leads to a more collaborative, efficient work environment. Not to mention when your employees are resilient and adaptive, turnover is lower, even in times of hardship, and the desire to grow, promote, and learn is enhanced. An investment in resiliency training produces happy, loyal, hardworking employees that deliver.

Karissa Price, PhD. and President of Emerging Businesses Division, Healthways, says, “Well-being is a concept that goes far beyond physical health. It includes purpose, social, financial, and community factors, as well as physical vitality. For employers, health plans, health systems and community leaders, this holistic view provides significant value. It’s a framework for understanding the underlying root causes of poor health and it informs more effective strategies to encourage the sustained lifestyle changes that allow people to perform to their highest potential.”


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