The Pursuit of Happiness

 In Journal M

Don’t we all love sunsets? Most of us look at the sinking sun as a perfect fantasy of solitude. A book on your lap, coffee in your hand and that undisturbed gaze out into the glowing horizon. What a view! Except for the hazy buildings and the swirling smog, of course. Caught up in our daily routines, it becomes very easy for us to dismiss air pollution as a modern-day curse – something we just have to live with. After all, it did spike with the industrial revolution and what can we do right? WRONG.

In the last 6 years, Denmark has been consistently on the top of the list for the ‘Happiest Countries in the World’. How do they do it, especially when the rest of us are grappling with our life’s purpose and a never-ending pursuit of happiness? Perhaps, the answer lies in the glass ceilings this country has managed to break. From equal parental leave for men and women (yes, that’s right!) to free higher education where most developed countries still only look at subsidized options, Denmark is in a league of its own when it comes to taking care of its people.

But wait, what about the argument that happiness is internal? Does it really matter if the Danish government has set up support plans for its citizens while taxing them nearly at a whopping 45%? Perhaps it’s more about the little things that go unnoticed. Concept words like ‘Hygge’ and ‘Lykke’ may have a bigger role to play in the happiness game, after all! While Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), emphasizes on the ‘cozy living’ that Danes follow, ‘Lykke’ (pronounced lyoo-kah) literally hands you the keys to inner fulfillment! Absorbing the moment as it is, while reading a book indoors on a rainy morning is something both these concepts gravitate towards and is apparently also woven into Danish culture itself.

Having been sucked into a fast-paced techno lifestyle, this concept seems romantic at best but just so hard to live by. However, the Danes swear by it and have successfully incorporated slow, cozy living into their daily life. In fact, their companies even have roles such as ‘The CEO of happiness’, which ensures that the employees carry a sense of ‘Hygge’ and ‘Lykke’ into their work space as well! From ceramic candles to chunky knit sweaters, happiness is a national obsession for this country.

To delve more into these thoughts, check out MAYUreads ‘The Little Book of Lykke’.

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