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Why You’ll Like Lykke, the Danish Approach to Happiness

The Danes are a contented bunch, with the nation regularly topping global happiness surveys (yes, they really are a thing).

 

This year, for example, Denmark finished second in the World Happiness Report, while the Brits languished back in 19th place.

 

So, what is it about the Danish lifestyle that makes them so darn chipper?

 

Many believe it comes down to ‘lykke’, the Danish word for happiness (not to be confused with ‘hygge’, which means cosiness).

 

When the good folk at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (yep, that’s a thing too) drilled down into the secrets of lykke, they found several things contributed to a person’s satisfaction with life.

 

Many of these factors are also present in other happy cultures around the world, proving happiness isn’t just for hardy Viking types. Here are some of the key components of lykke.

 

Togetherness: People who feel a sense of belonging are happier and healthier. Spending time with family and friends or getting involved with a local club or community group is a great way to achieve a sense of lykke.

 

Money: While having food on the table and a roof over your head is important, once you’ve covered your basic needs, obsessing over material wealth won’t make you happier. Instead, enjoy simple pleasures such as walking the dog or reading a good book. And if you are going to spend money, invest in experiences that will expand your mind and create memories.

 

Work/life balance: The Danes work hard in the office but feel no guilt about clocking off on time to do other things. This explains why the average working week in Denmark is 33 hours*. While not all of us will have employers who are quite so understanding, consistently working long hours can lead to stress and burnout.

 

Health: We all know exercise is important for your physical and mental health. But instead of pumping iron at the gym, the Danes tend to incorporate exercise into daily life. Many Danes cycle to work – Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly capital city in the world. And they don’t let bad weather stop them from spending time in the great outdoors (Denmark is colder and darker in winter than the UK).

 

Kindness: This can involve providing financial or practical support to a charity of your choice or simply doing something thoughtful for another person. A small, considerate gesture can put a big smile on someone’s face.

 

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading. We’d love to hear if you have a happy place or a favourite activity. Comment below.

 

*Source: OECD

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