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What City is a Beacon for Happiness?

Recently I wrote a post about the second wave of mindfulness, moving from an approach to support us individually, to something that is being applied throughout multiple sectors in our culture including education, politics, government, business, the military, our prisons, and is at the forefront of healthcare and science. This is where we’re headed. Recently, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg put out a challenge to the cities of America to find solutions to our most entrenched challenges. Santa Monica, California put out a compelling response, forming for the first time a “Well-Being Index” that measures the well-being of an entire city.

What would be different if we moved beyond our awareness of personal well-being and could see the well-being of an entire city? How would this inform decision making at a governmental level? This is the piece that is missing in helping people make change. It sounds fascinating to me.

Here’s the short video they made that lays it out:

In this case, now city governments play a role and take responsibility for the social aspect of their constituent’s well-being.

Now, some people might say that the less government the better, but we’re talking about raising our awareness city by city as to how we’re doing. Not to mention that anyone who knows anything about how change works, knows that our environments play a critical role in supporting us in making the changes we want to make.

In my mind this brings us together leading to greater connection and less disconnection.

Connection leads to balance and balance leads to happiness. It sure would be great if we had our local cities on board with this.

Want to create happier cities across America and the globe?

Maybe one place to start is with a well-being index. You can vote for it here.

There are many other cities who are putting out initiatives as part of the Mayor’s challenge and if you have the time check those out as well.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

What City is a Beacon for Happiness?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2013). What City is a Beacon for Happiness?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Feb 2013
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