In my last post, I talked about how much I love the beautiful part of the country where I live. I enjoy it. I brag about it. And I miss it when I’m away.

Apparently, I’m suffering from a syndrome called “place attachment.”

Yes, it does exist (you can look it up). And it ‘s a good thing. “Place attachment” basically means exactly what it says: you are attached to the place you live. An article in Psychology Today explains it, “It’s a love for your city, a belief that this, right here, is your place. It’s a sense of local belonging. It’s an emotional bond based on mutual history, responsibility, and affection.” People who experience place attachment:

  • are generally happier
  • are less anxious
  • have more friends
  • live longer
  • are more involved in their communities

How do you know whether you’re truly attached to the place you live now? Start by answering these three basic questions:

  1. Does where you live say a lot about who you are as a person?
  2. If you could move anywhere right now, would you stay in your town?
  3. Does your city feel like home?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re likely place attached.

But what if you’re not attached to where you live, and you want to be? Well, you could move (and if that’s the case, please give me a call!). But that option aside, there are some things you can do to increase your sense of rootedness and grow more attached to the city where you live. My wife and I moved our family to Gig Harbor around seven years ago, so our place attachment has grown over time. Here are some ways we were intentional about getting to know our community:

  • we attended high school football games on Friday nights (where we established some great friendships)
  • we joined a church
  • we joined a gym
  • we tried some new things (for us, that included kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking)
  • we attended local activities, events, and attractions (annual town parade, free concerts in the park, museums and art shows, etc.)
  • we shopped local and got to know business owners
  • we ate out at local restaurants
  • we got to know our neighbors

With such potential for happiness, health, and longevity, I encourage everyone to aspire to love where they live. Truth be told, it has less to do the with the place than it does to do with us and the way we view it.

“To foster attachment, your town doesn’t need to be the platonic ideal of a city, just as you don’t have to be particularly gorgeous, clever, or wealthy to love and be loved by others. You can adore a town that everyone else hates and still accrue the physical, emotional, and social benefits of place attachment. Your town just has to make you happy. When it does, you want to stay.”

–Melanie Warnick, This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live

Do you love where you live? If not, what are you going to do about it?


Doug Lawrence loves living on Fox Island in Washington State. He has been a Pierce County resident (on both sides of the Narrows Bridge!) since 1990 and is a huge fan of the Pacific Northwest. He is a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty and would be happy to help YOU find YOUR perfect place, too! Contact him at dlawrence@kw.com or visit his website, www.douglawrencerealestate.com.

(c) 2015 Doug Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.