Hyyge equals happiness?
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?