Cutting your commute feels like getting a $40,000 raise

It’s surprising exactly how much more happiness a shorter commute brings. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, has spent the past five years traveling the globe, studying the happiest places and people on Earth and parsing out all the variables that contribute to overall happiness. In an interview with NPR, Buettner explained the dramatic happiness boost that happens when people reduce their commute time, and the comparison he makes might surprise you:

When you look at Americans’ day-to-day activity, the top two things we hate the most on a day-to-day basis is, No. 1: housework and No. 2: the daily commute in our cars. In fact, if you can cut an hour-long commute each way out of your life, it’s the [happiness] equivalent of making up an extra $40,000 a year. It’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.

However you make the shift, less time in the car means a measurably happier life.

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