Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado on the Web: Why did some of our smiles go away?

By Dalton Walker, dalton.walker@gazette.com - Updated: February 27, 2014 at 10:29 am

Hey, Colorado, turn that frown upside down.

According to well-being rankings by Gallup-Healthways, Coloradans are still happy, but not as happy as we once were.

In the latest rankings, Colorado placed seventh - down five spots from the previous year.

Now people in North Dakota are the happiest, followed by South Dakotans, Nebraskans and Minnesotans, respectively.

Hey, don't blame me for the slip. I moved here in October, happy.

West Virginia is apparently a horrible place to live, and it's not getting better. The state ranked dead last for the past two years. I've never been to West Virginia, but rankings like this aren't making a visit sound more attractive.

The rankings are based on a combination of health behavior, work environment, financial security and social and community factors.

Apparently freezing cold and face-stinging wind wasn't a factor for the Dakotas or Minnesota. I've lived in South Dakota, traveled through North Dakota often and was born in northern Minnesota. I don't remember too many happy days up there during the dead of winter. But, hey, that's just me.

I'm still happy in Colorado, so hopefully I can help lift the ranking in the coming years.

And, if you need a boost, try listening to a now-popular song by rapper Pharrell Williams called "Happy." All together now: "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I'm happy."

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Speaking of popular music. What are you listening to these days? Wait, don't tell me. Is it the band, The Naked and Famous?

For most of you, yes, it is, according to a music blog that knows these things. I had no idea who The Naked and Famous are or how they sounded until I looked them up online. I'm not a music guy either so this isn't a total surprise. My music-loving ranges from Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles to Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar.

The Echo Nest, which tracks music trends, posted a map of the U.S. called, "Music Fans' Most Distinctive Artists by State."

It's not a map of music artists based on connections to a specific state.

Instead it uses data about what people are listening to. Rhode Island loves its Nirvana. Michigan prefers rapper Young Jeezy and we like The Naked and Famous.

I spent most of my life in Minnesota and I don't know who Metric is, but the Canadian rock band is popular there.

By the way, The Naked and Famous is an alternative rock band from New Zealand.

- - -

I still have to learn how to ski and snowboard, but I've added learning to sandboard to the list. The Huffington Post published a list online explaining the one thing you must do in each state. Sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park outside Alamosa was listed for Colorado as a must-do.

"If you thought Colorado's mountains were shreddable, wait till you speed down the tallest dunes in North America on a fiberglass board," the list says.

I'm in. Who's coming with me?

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For more, visit my blog.

Have a Colorado on the Web idea? Send me an email at dalton.walker@gazette.com or tweet @GazetteDalton

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