Hyyge equals hap­pi­ness?

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

Stud­ies have shown as well that spend­ing time with friends and fam­ily is cen­tral to stay­ing happy and sane. This is not rocket science, but Wik­ing makes a point of ar­tic­u­lat­ing what we shouldn’t take for granted.

He refers to a sur­vey that sets out grat­i­tude as hav­ing an im­pact on hap­pi­ness. The re­sults in­di­cated that be­ing grate­ful not only in­creases hap­pi­ness, but also makes us more help­ful, more for­giv­ing, and less ma­te­ri­al­is­tic. Who wouldn’t be on board with all that?

Ac­cord­ing to Wik­ing, “hygge may help us to be grate­ful for the ev­ery­day be­cause it is all about savour­ing sim­ple plea­sures. Hygge is mak­ing the most of the moment, but hygge is also a way of plan­ning for and pre­serv­ing hap­pi­ness. Danes plan for hyggelige times and rem­i­nisce about them af­ter­wards.”

In an­other far away coun­try called Bhutan, they cre­ated the Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness In­dex in 1971.

The coun­try re­jected Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) as the only way to mea­sure progress. In its place, it has cham­pi­oned a new ap­proach to de­vel­op­ment, which mea­sures pros­per­ity through for­mal prin­ci­ples of gross na­tional hap­pi­ness (GNH) and the spir­i­tual, phys­i­cal, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal health of its cit­i­zens and nat­u­ral en- vi­ron­ment.

“It’s easy to mine the land and fish the seas and get rich,” said Thakur Singh Powdyel, Bhutan’s min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, who was quoted by The Guardian. “Yet we be­lieve you can­not have a pros­per­ous na­tion in the long run that does not con­serve its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment or take care of the well­be­ing of its peo­ple, which is be­ing borne out by what is hap­pen­ing to the out­side world.”

Powdyel sees the gross hap­pi­ness in­dex as “an as­pi­ra­tion, a set of guid­ing prin­ci­ples through which we are nav­i­gat­ing our path to­wards a sus­tain­able and eq­ui­table so­ci­ety. We be­lieve the world needs to do the same be­fore it is too late.”

I would like to see Cana­di­ans hold­ing a worth­while dis­course about hap­pi­ness dur­ing our 150th year. It could prove timely. For in­stance, how can those of us who are of white, An­glo Saxon lin­eage be happy when in­dige­nous Cana­di­ans are un­able to be? How can we feel hygge when the LGBTQ com­mu­nity strug­gles for ac­cep­tance?

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