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© ShutterstockReykjavik, Islândia

Fancy a change of scene? These are the best cities for mental wellbeing

Researchers have figured out where you should move if you want to reduce your stress levels

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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It’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Over the past few days, we’ve seen the usual slew of companies making vague, non-committal statements, but some pretty useful resources have cropped up too, like this toolkit for those facing loneliness. But have you ever wondered which cities might be best for your mental wellbeing?

This study from CBD oil company VAAY has worked it out (because those guys really know their shit about wellness). Perhaps surprisingly, the number-one spot went to Reykjavik in Iceland. Despite being extremely expensive – and dark throughout much of the winter period – popular policies like the four-day working week have apparently made its residents among the least stressed in the world. 

The researchers took a vast number of factors into account, including crime levels, gender and minority equality, population density, air pollution, traffic congestion, unemployment rates, social security protection and the government’s response to the pandemic. The report then looked at 100 cities with reliable data, with the Icelandic capital coming out top. Bern in Switzerland and Finnish capital Helsinki came second and third respectively.

As for UK cities, nowhere in the country ranks particularly highly. Liverpool cracks the top 20, appearing at number 11, while London is down at 69. Houston is the US’s top performing city, at number 25. Not great. 

A VAAY spokesperson said that the research aimed to ‘show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, robust environmental policies and well-resourced social welfare systems’.

Here’s the top ten in full:

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland 
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Wellington, New Zealand
  5. Melbourne, Australia
  6. Oslo, Norway
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Innsbruck, Austria
  9. Hanover, Germany
  10. Graz, Austria

Got five minutes to spare? Want to tell us what life is like in your city? Take the Time Out Index survey here.

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