Mike Viking is the director of the International Happiness Research Center in Copenhagen and the author of Hygge. The secret of Danish happiness “:
“Lykke means happiness. And happiness in the full sense of the word. We at the Happiness Research Center have come to the conclusion that Lykke is what people who think they are completely happy are referring to. People ask me if I have ever felt Lykke in my life? And my answer is: yes, many times (which is why I decided to write a whole book about it). For example, finding a slice of pizza in the fridge after a day of skiing with friends is Lykke. You probably know this feeling too.
Copenhagen is the most Lykke place on earth. Here everyone leaves the offices at five o’clock in the evening, gets on their bikes and rides home to spend the evening with the family. Then they always do some kind deed to a neighbor or just a stranger, and then at the end of the evening they light candles and sit down in front of the screen to watch a new episode of their favorite series. Perfect, right? But my extensive research as Executive Director of the International Center for Research on Happiness (total number of employees: one) has shown that people from other parts of the world are also happy. And in order to be happy, it is not necessary to have a bicycle, candles or live in Scandinavia. In this book, I share some of the exciting discoveries I’ve made that could make you a little more Lykke. I confess that I myself am not always completely happy. For example, I wasn’t very Lykke when I left my iPad on a plane after a trip. But I quickly realized that this is not the worst thing that can happen in life, and quickly returned to balance.
One of the secrets I share in my new book is that people are happier together than they are alone. I once spent five days in one of the restaurants in Stuttgart, watching how often people smiled alone and together with someone. I found that those who were alone smiled once every 36 minutes, while those who were with friends smiled every 14 minutes. So if you want to become more Lykke, get out of the house and connect with people. Get to know your neighbors and bring the friendliest of them a pie. Smile on the street and people will smile back at you. Wish good morning to acquaintances and strangers who look at you with interest. This will really make you happier.
Happiness is often associated with money. Each of us is more pleasant to have money than not to have it. But I found out that people in Copenhagen are not very rich, but there are really a lot of happy people here, compared, for example, with Seoul. In South Korea, people yearn for a new car every year, and if they can’t get one, they get depressed. In Denmark, everything is simpler: we don’t buy cars at all, because any car in Denmark is taxed at 150% 🙂
Knowing that you have freedom and choice makes you feel like Lykke. For example, in Scandinavia there is nothing wrong with the fact that young parents leave their baby in the evening with their grandparents and go to a party. This makes them happy, which means they will have an amazing relationship with both the older generation and the child. No one will be happier if you ban yourself within four walls, but at the same time comply with all the “norms” of society.
Happiness is in the little things, but it’s the little things that make us truly happy.”