People who live in the Bible belt stretching across the American South into Texas are less happy than residents of the west or New England.

That's according to an analysis of 10 million tweets (called a "hedonometer") created by a team at the Vermont Complex Systems Center.

The team coded each tweet based by the number of happy-seeming words (rainbow, love, beauty, hope, wonderful, wine, for example) or sad (damn, boo, ugly, smoke, hate, lied).

Curses, deemed negative, made a big difference in the results. For example, tweeters in Beaumont, Texas, deemed an unhappy bunch, tended to use the words "shit, ass, damn, gone, no, bitch, and hell" frequently.

Analyzing the overall emotional tone of a writer or speaker by counting the number of different types of words is a standard technique in psychological research--the newest thing here is that the researchers applied the method to tweets.   

Being surrounded by happy (or unhappy) people can dramatically affect your own well-being. You might even consider leaving Beaumont.    

Recent Posts in Open Gently

Why We Love To See Conspiracies

People hate randomness. We'd rather see evil.

After a Decade of Dating, I Found A Keeper

I knew it would work because of the way we fight.

Men Have Bigger Brains--So What Does That Mean?

Much of what you hear about the male and female brain is wrong.

Alcohol Does More Harm Than Heroin or Crack

Let's talk about "secondhand alcohol abuse" along with secondhand smoke

Is Addiction Really a Medical Problem? It's Complicated

As with all health issues, your social network and self-discipline count, too.

8 Ways to Boost Your Self-Control

Some self-discipline strategies, like gargling sugar-water, aren't obvious.