Denmark: Happiest nation in the world

According to the World Happiness Report, Danes are ranked as the happiest people in the world.  So what really makes the Danish so happy?  Well, some say it is in their DNA.  Perhaps happiness does breed happiness, but genetically speaking, how logical is it to say we carry a happiness gene in our genetic makeup?

Happiness can be quite subjective, so I am curious to know just how these studies were conducted that concluded who are the happiest and who are unhappy.  In American culture, happiness is often concluded based upon one’s haves versus have nots.  Success often equates to happiness and so does one’s socio-economic status.

In Denmark, this is not the case as I understand it.  The Danes are mindful people as a whole.  What I mean is that they are present-minded people who focus on the here and now versus being future oriented as we Americans often are.  Danes take great pleasure in every ordinary day and have learned to be happy with what they have in the present moment.  This is known in Denmark as “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh).  Hygge is inviting closeness into ones life and paying close attention to what matters most in the moment.  Almost anything can be considered hygge according to the Danish.  Having coffee at a cafe is hygge.  Riding a bike is hygge.  Enjoying a conversation with a friend is also hygge.

Too often life is spent chasing what we do not have but want.  I too am often guilty of wanting more than I have.  I hope to take a lesson from the Danish as I travel to Denmark in the next week in search of my own hygge!  Instead of bringing back a trinket or two, I would like to bring back my own sense of happiness for what I have as well as a greater enjoyment out of living life in the present moment.

What is your hygge?

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