How to live happily like a Dane

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( — October 5, 2017) — In 2016 Denmark earned the title of ‘happiest country in the world’ in the UN’s annual World Happiness Report. But what makes the Denmark so great and Danes such happy people? The answer lies in the way they live their lives. There are 3 simple ways you can bring a little bit of Danish culture into your life and be happier!

Find a work-life balance

Having a healthy work-life balance is something that is important for Danes. Unlike other countries, it is not normal and celebrated to be overworked and not letting your job take precedence over your family and personal life is completely normal.

You may be reading this thinking that this is much easier than it sounds, which is true, but there are some simple ways you can bring some balance back into your life.

Firstly, don’t bring your work home with you. This means that when you leave the office for the day, don’t check your emails or attend to any business until the next morning. If you work from home, then make sure you have a designated room that you work from so that once you leave that room at the end of the day, you are in a different space and able to relax like you would had you left a real office.

Secondly, stick to your working hours and leave the office on time! You may receive a few judgemental looks from your colleagues but at the end of the day, your work is not your whole life and being able to spend the most amount of time with your children and family is far more important. Your behaviour may even encourage others to do the same.

2. Trust others

Danes are brought up with the mentality that everyone is to be trusted. This means that they are always willing to help others and are quick to assist strangers as there is no negative associations about ‘stranger danger’, even among children. One example that shows just how trusting Danes are is the fact that they are happy leaving their babies sleeping in their prams on the street outside cafes and restaurants.

Due to this trust, Danes are active in their communities and they are often close with their neighbours. Neighbours gathering together for group cleaning operations of their apartment buildings or streets is not uncommon.

To bring this element of Danish culture into your life, try being more open (if you’re not already!) and be first to help others when they are in need. This could be just helping an elderly person with their bags or picking up trash from the street. Every little helps!

3. Hygge

You may have heard this buzz-word over the last year as it has escaped out of Denmark and into the English language. There is no direct translation into English but it generally means being cosy and relaxed amongst friends, it is the feeling you get from being in this carefree situation.

To achieve this ‘hygge’ atmosphere, make like a Dane and light lots of candles. Also have plenty of blankets on hand and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa to snuggle up with. Hygge is usually achieved during the winter months when it is cold and dark outside, so now is the perfect time to bring some hygge into your life!


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