1. All those comically perpetual 72-and-sunny days mean it’s likely you’ll live longer. According to a 2013 study, mortality rates jump during the winter season — but if you live in Southern California, your concept of winter functions more on the scale of when and where you’re getting your holiday shopping done rather than when you need to pull your puffy down coat from wherever it is you stored it during last winter’s apocalyptic snow sto… Oh. That’s right. There was no snow storm for you.
2. People who live by the beach report having better health. Yes. Really. So all of those hundreds of miles of coastline mean that playing hooky every once in a while, foregoing store-bought salt spray for real beach hair, and — yes— justifying how you need to buy just one more bathing suit, is all in the name of better health.
3. The farmer’s market and locavore cultures do a body good. The verdict’s still out on exactly how much better eating locally is for you, but just think of how many restaurants you know that are touting some new-aged #truth. Also, that fresh kale you threw into your canvas tote at the farmer’s market will have more nutrients than something picked days or a few weeks ago. (Yes, if you want to be lax about what you consider “local,” In-N-Out could kinda sorta totally count.)
4. All that outdoorsy-ness is like your second therapist. (Because everyone has one already.) Doing lunch on the patio? Even if it’s under a heat lamp, and or if you’re just watching the foliage go by from your car window, looking at nature offers stress relief in ways that your computer screensaver or that Instagram #tbt of your vacation to Cabo can’t. So go ahead, revel in the jacarandas falling everywhere. You might get angry that the sap got on your car, but at least you won’t be stressed.
5. Chasing your dream and being an actor/screenwriter/director/[insert /slash-of-choice here] is actually good for you. Studies prove that creative work helps people stay healthy, and sure, while waiting on all those tables and picking up side gigs while you’re holding out for your big break aren’t exactly creative endeavors, all those acting classes, auditions, and impressive monologues to your mom that everything’s going great will help in the meanwhile.
6. Chances are good you can speak at least two languages — the area is one of the most linguistically dense places in the country. There’s tons of different communities with all sorts of cultural backgrounds, and you’re bound to hear multiple languages being spoken on any random day. (At the very least, you have a rudimentary knowledge of the beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy we call Spanglish, don’t you?) Being bilingual is great for your mind — not to mention that the less people who pronounce it “Supple-veeda,” the better.
7. Living in a culture where it’s almost expected that you’ll fail does wonders for your ego. You’re not alone here! Everyone fails! After all, you’re surrounded by people whose entire careers are gambles and risks, but taking risks is good for you. Take it from Moby, who said that:
… in L.A., everybody publicly fails at some point — even the most successful people. A writer’s screenplay may be turned into a major movie, but there’s a good chance her next five screenplays won’t even get picked up. An actor may star in acclaimed films for two years, then go a decade without work. A musician who has sold well might put out a complete failure of a record — then bounce back with the next one. Experimentation and a grudging familiarity with occasional failure are part of L.A.’s ethos.
And taking advice from a bald vegan is totally in line with Southern California’s ethos, don’t even lie.
8. Mexican food can be good for you. Is all that queso good for you? Doubtful. But there are healthy ways to eat Mexican food, and look, avocados are the wonder fruit. Really, when has anyone’s life ever been made worse by eating a taco? Never, that’s when.
9. There are ways to make all that traffic work for you. I know, I know, it’s like suggesting you hug a scorpion (because there’s no way that will end well) but if you’re stuck on the 405 for an hour in the morning, you can take the time to decompress, plan your day, listen to a motivational podcast, or vent out loud only to be heard by strangers who will never see you ever again.
Or, in the best-case scenario, you might see this guy doing one of his rounds (he’s based in LA):
10. All those outdoor concerts are therapeutic. A study showed that live music might help patients heal — at the very least, it boosts their moods, one called it a cure for the soul — so whether you’re at Coachella; the Hollywood Bowl; or one of the thousands of other live shows, concerts, festivals, and gigs at any time of the year, you’re good.
11. There are some really, really beautiful places to be alone. Seeking out solitude in a space of 22 million people can be hard, for sure, but it’s possible — and you should take as much alone time as you can for your own benefit. For what it’s worth, climbing into your car and just driving helps wonders (especially when you don’t hit traffic) and lord knows there’s a ton of highways and freeways for you to do that on.
12. A strong sense of community is always a good thing. How many people in Southern California have a tattoo or a phone case devoted to their town, or at the very least root for one of the teams? Rallying together helps create bonds and a sense of belonging. And yes, okay, suffering defeats like the season the Lakers just had helps in the whole resilience front — but there are ways to bounce back from that stronger.
13. There are definite health benefits to drinking coffee — praise! — and let’s face it, you’re not writing your screenplay in anything other than a coffee shop, are you? In fact, you’re reading this in line for your coffee, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?! (Besides, the tally of coffee shops in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles alone is just insane/amazing.)
14. Reveling in all of the nostalgia that is so pervasive everywhere counteracts boredom, loneliness, and anxiety. So whether you’re taking in an old movie at Hollywood Forever; reminiscing on the glory days when your team was actually, y’know, good; or daydreaming with all those childhood memories at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, or the San Diego Zoo, looking back to yesteryear is actually healthy. (Just do it before they tear down that wonderful old Spanish-style house and build concept condos, k?)
15. Taking a day trip every now and again is essential to your health . If you live in an area of the world where you could, in theory, go to the beach in the morning, hightail it to the mountains for some skiing in the middle of the day, and then party it up in the desert at night, not only is that variety good for your workout routine (though the overexertion might do you in) but taking time off doesn’t feel like a staycation when you have so many great places to visit by car alone.
16. Vitamin D is essential for your body and your mood — and wherever you live in Southern California, chances are you’re getting more than your fair share of rays. Just, y’know, be sure to use the SPF 50.
17. Cities in Southern California routinely clock in on the “Healthiest Cities In The U.S.” roundups (there’s 3 on this top 10 alone) and I mean, we weren’t setting out to win medals for all that yoga and green juice, but hey, if you’re going to reward us for it, we’ll take the accolade for just doing us.