Do you know anybody who doesn`t want to be happy? I doubt it. We are all searching for happiness and deserve to be happy.
But more often than not the happy life eludes us. The endless piles of work, the problems at home, our tight budgets, you name it…Is there a shortcut to happiness?
Why not get inspired by what makes people happy around the world? Last week we talked about Norway` secret to happiness that combines an open-air living philosophy and a deep bond with nature.
But let`s travel a bit south to their neighbor Denmark.
In his bestseller, The Little Book of Lykke (lykke means happiness in Danish), the Danish author, research associate, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Meik Viking, presents some research-backed secrets to a happy life.
Imagine leaving work at five o`clock sharp, riding your bike back home, where you light up some candles and spend a chill evening with your family over a cup of tea and cookies. This is pretty much explaining why Danes are among the happiest people on Earth. And the Danish hygge, the local philosophy for cozy living, has gained worldwide popularity for a reason.
“Copenhagen is probably the most Lykke place in the world.”, as Maike wrote.
But as his extensive research in his role as the chief executive of the International Happiness Research Centre in Copenhagen has shown people from other countries can be ocassionally happy too.
What makes us happy?
Whether you live in Copenhagen or Bangkok, there`re some universal factors that contribute to happiness. Check them out, as listed by Maike:
While researching what makes people happy, one thing became clear for Maike: people who do things together are generally happier.
Any examples? He spent five days observing how often people smiled outside a McDonald`s in Stuttgart. And what did he find? Those that were on their own only smiled every 36 minutes, whereas those with companions smiled every 14 minutes.
Anyone would agree: it`s good to have them. But it seems like they can`t buy you happiness on their own. It`s true that rich nations like Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Norway are topping the happiness rankings. Yet, poorer countries like Israel, Mexico, Brazil and Uruguay are also showing high levels of happiness despite their economic problems.
If there`s anything that`s unarguably much more important than money, it would be good health. Still, you can clearly be happy, whereas living an unhealthy life. Let`s take the example of the Danish hygge or the Swedish fika (a social coffee break) – both concepts are usually including piles of traditional desserts that are devoured in the company of others (maybe, it all boils down to togetherness and not sugar, after all?)
Surprised that the feeling of control over your life makes you happy? Freedom to do what you want with your life without any imposed restrictions contradicting with your intrinsic values can indeed help you feel happier. Can you disagree with that?
Being nice is nice. Not only nice but helping you feel better.
Did you know that in Denmark people have a “be nice to someone hour” that takes place every morning at 9.45? Well, wouldn`t hurt to try it out tomorrow, right?
Find your own happiness
Finding happiness may be a daunting task.
Try looking inwards and see what made you smile today? Which activities and relationships gave you energy and which drained your energy?
Start journaling and noticing what you`re grateful for. It`s a good first step towards a happier life. Because you deserve it.