I’m a paradox.
This week it really hit home to me how badly I want to live in Wandin Valley. I want life to be like the Cheers theme song where ‘everybody knows your name’. I want community and connection and a feeling of belonging.
But I also want to be left the hell alone like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.
This week on The Well was life changing for me. Actually genuinely I CHANGED MY LIFE BECAUSE OF IT type-of-life-changing.
There are no tears. No massive Oprah-style ‘ah-ha’ moments. But this is the episode that that has truly made me happier. And it’s thanks to Princess Mary. Well, her and the 5.614 million other Danes.
Listen to Bec and Robin talking about how the Danes do it:
You see, for the third time in five years Denmark has been ranked the happiest country in the world. BY THE UNITED NATIONS. That’s right, the UN. This isn’t some dodgy Cosmo survey. We’re talking data and Ban Ki-Moon, people.
So naturally my well co-host (97.3FM’s Robin Bailey) and I wanted to know what the hell those Danes are doing over there that’s making them so joyful? Because they’re clearly doing something right to be taking top place in the World Happiness Report.
With some guidance from Helen Russell’s book ‘The Year of Living Danishly: uncovering the secrets of the world’s happiest country” we unpacked some of the key Danish behaviours, rituals and beliefs that’s fostering a high sense of well-being and happiness.
My favourite was the Danes commitment to Hygge. It’s a word that apparently defies literal translation but here’s how they describe it on the Visit Denmark website:
“Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. “
Also cake. Hygge is about cake. Cake. Candles. Friends and family. Cosiness. I’m in!
So yes I’ve adopted more hygge into my life. More cake, more candles. More being kinder to myself and less deprivation. I’ve also stepped up the family rituals (since that’s another key to the happiness of Danes too apparently).