It’s no surprise that natural beauty makes people happy. When I think of the most stunning places in the world, I’m transported to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Antelope Canyon, places yet to be ruined by development. Human presence often spoils the unspoiled (see: Joshua Tree). But an urban surrounding with city views provides a burst of happiness, too.
In a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers looked into settings that boost your mood by collecting data on individual happiness from the Mappiness app, as well as and ratings of “scenicness” from the online game Scenic-Or-Not. What they found was that while people are indeed happier in locations deemed scenic, this includes both those in natural environments and built-up areas in urban settings.
“It’s not just a natural area that might have an impact on happiness, but we might also feel happier in more beautiful areas in our cities,” data scientist and study author Chanuki Illushka Seresinhe told Scientific American. “I think what’s interesting about this research is it shows that just a small injection of beauty into an area of a city can create happiness for possibly thousands of people that are being exposed to that.”
While visiting some of the most otherworldly places on the planet is a bucket list must, this study shows you can find happiness without immediate access to nature. And these are some of the best city views to prove it:
Sure, you can increase your happiness by taking in some beautiful city views. But if you want to feel happy in the comfort of your own home, try these mindful habits and squeeze in a quick HIIT workout.