Read time: 2 minutes

The Secret of Happiness: Hygge

Dec 3 / Katheryn Frazier

Happiness is elusive — it's hard to define and measure, although the World Happiness Report may try. So many of us seek out, as Aristotle would say, "the good life," but we don't know what that entails. 
Happiness isn't a simple emotion. Instead, it comprises of overall: 

  1. Life satisfaction
  2. Mood 
  3. Sense of meaning 
  4. Mental health 
  5. Physical health 
  6. Social connectivity 
  7. Physiological needs  
  8. Governance (systems built around you)

The idea of happiness is both directly and indirectly in our control, but if so many factors contribute to our happiness, then how can we be happy? 

The answer lies in the word hygge. The term is used in Nordic countries, and Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, defines hygge as "...the art of creating a nice atmosphere. It's about togetherness. It's about pleasure. It's about relaxation."

Instead of focusing on the components of happiness individually, we should be assessing them together. Hygge reframes the sense of happiness to emphasize what we have rather than what's missing. When we think about what we've lost, we keep wanting and wanting when in reality, it's unlikely that everything will come together in harmony. 

Mindset matters because it affects what you can directly control, yourself. Everything out of your control should be managed case by case based on your situation in life. 

If you're having a hard time thinking about the concept of hygge, keep a gratitude journal. Write down what you're thankful for, no matter how insignificant. 

  • I am grateful for my family because they have influenced the core of who I am and went through so much to have me in their life.
  • I am grateful for my career because I can learn and inform others about good news while working for a company I support.
  • I am grateful for my body because it achieves homeostasis. I don't have to constantly tell my body to breathe or how much insulin to make. My body can freely move and I am alive.
  • I am grateful for my past because it was a valuable teacher. I learned to deal with the tears and use that input to inform how I want my future to look.
  • I am grateful for my access to basic utilities like running water and electricity because life would be extremely difficult without them.
  • I am grateful for my love of music because it makes me more empathetic, disciplined and connects me with others.

There's too much dismay in the world and so much life out there to live. Think about what you have, all of it. Have your sights set on hygge
Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That IS the 3C way.

Note: This article is based on a piece done by Freakonomics Podcast. The original source can be found here: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/happiness-rebroadcast/.

©Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay via Canva.com

You’ve certainly experienced loneliness, right?. But did you know about its long-term effects?

Former surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, claims that: 

"People who struggle with loneliness end up living shorting lives…are at an increased risk for heart disease, depression, dementia, anxiety, and a host of other conditions.”

Now that statement makes you stop and think, “I don’t want that.” Now to clarify, loneliness isn’t inherently wrong; each one of us needs time alone. It also is not entirely based on how big or small your social network encompasses. Instead, loneliness becomes an issue when it turns into something more chronic.

Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, Julianne Holt- Lunstad, defines loneliness as

"…the discrepancy between our actual level of social connection and our desired level of connection.”

You see, what’s haunting about loneliness is that it shows no prejudice based on race, class, or gender. Anyone can feel lonely, even if it seems like they would be the last person to experience it.


The idea of loneliness can heavily impact not just a person’s physical health but mental health too. Support systems feel like they’re breaking down. All you feel is isolation. Self-preservation takes over.


The point of learning about the effects of loneliness shouldn’t make you dismayed. Instead, it should inform you to protect yourself against chronic loneliness better and assist others when they could feel lonely. Loneliness indicates that we should be connecting with others to live in a community.


Think about what community means or looks like to you:
  • What does community look like to me? In-person? Digital?
  • What are some communities that I could be a part of based on shared interests?


Try to identify what friends you connect with most:

  • Which friends do you connect with the most? Why?
  • Should I start making a weekly or monthly time to hang out more with this friend?


Or you could start making new connections at the park, an event, at school. Anywhere. On the flip side, give people grace when they might be feeling lonely. Their distance and bad behavior may be symptoms of a more significant issue they are internalizing. Better yet, ask them if they need help with anything. You could brighten their day.

If you or someone else you know ever starts feeling loneliness in the worst way, breathe. Realize that often it’s a temporary phase that can be resolved by leaning on old connections or creating new ones. Of course, dealing with loneliness is a personal process. Take your time.

There is no shame in feeling lonely. However, we should remember to do our best to avoid the type of loneliness that affects physical and mental health because there is so much more life to live.

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That is the 3C way!

Thanks for reading,

~Katheryn

Note: This article is a summary and review of a piece done by Freakonomics Podcast. The source can be found here: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/loneliness/.

 

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About the blogger

Katheryn Frazier, Digital Media Editor and Producer

Katheryn is a native of Pennsylvania who holds previous experience in marketing, journalism, and higher education.

In May of 2021, she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from Grove City College. Currently, she works in the office of marketing and communication at a higher education institution. 

Her primary responsibility at 3C is to manage blog production and is an occasional guest writer.

In her free time, she delights in playing musical instruments, reading, and cuddling with her cats.

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