The Quest For Happiness

April 19, 2024 , , , 0 Comments

With all the success, achievements, and happiness-infusing-technologies, our search for being joyous, pleasant and happy is not over. India has its own guidelines, very well defined by Bhagavadgita, Buddhism, and Jainism. Still, our search for techniques to be happy pushes us to explore different ways around the world. 

Some people traveled to the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Japan to find out four concepts of happiness, NIKSEN, HYGGE, LAGOM, and WABI-SABI respectively. These four countries top the list of the world happiness index and are amongst the first ten. Let me simplify and summarize each of them and try to derive the ultimate formula for happiness. 

NIKESEN (Netherlands)

In the Netherlands, Dutch people have found out key to happiness in NIKESEN. NIKESEN means “Doing nothing” purposefully and deliberately - leaving from work of body and mind - with a purpose to do nothing or having no purpose at all for a certain time (not exceeding 10 minutes). 

“Doing nothing” is a Dutch art of experiencing only being and not doing anything whatsoever. NIKESEN says let your mind wader, do not control motion or gesture, and do not try to be productive. Just be natural at that very moment, looking at nature, maybe listening to music and looking around. To practice Nikesen, pick a comfy chair, stare out of the window or around the room, and let your mind go where it wants. Remember do not exceed 10 minutes a day.

For getting rid of anxiety, burnout, trepidation, tiredness, or overwhelmed state, and when all the above turn out to be too much, try NIKESEN - doing nothing. You will find, multiple benefits like an increase in happiness, higher motivation, better rest, increased productivity, stress relief, better balance, digital detox (by staying away from mobile and computers), and better overall mood.

Find out your technique because NIKESEN is different for everyone. To summarize, NIKESEN is all about doing nothing on purpose. NIKESEN is not lazy and it is just doing nothing. It must stop at ten minutes a day.

HYGGE (Denmark)

Hygge is a Danish word pronounced as Hue-Guh. Hygge asks us to be consciously cozy, that is, at rest, comfortable and relaxed. It describes the art of creating a nice atmosphere of good relationships and good companionship between two persons.

The other character of Hygge is Conviviality (પ્રફુલ્લતા) - gladness. By family eating together with everybody in conversation and talk to each other with love and respect. Hygee makes us take a break from the demand for healthy eating. It means eating cakes, candy, chocolate, or drinking alcohol whatever you want to, without limit.

Hygge is a mixture of relaxation, being with the people you love, indulgence, equality, gratitude, and good food.

Meik Wiking (Founder of the Happiness Research Institute), author of a book on Hygge tells us, “At a certain point, additional income does not lead to improved quality of life”.

Amanda Weldon describes Hygge as following: 
  1. Accepting any weather. She says there is nothing like bad weather. 
  2. Enjoy time indoors or outdoors with candles, a fireplace, and cashmere socks. 
  3. Enjoy the togetherness of family and friends by talking loudly, eating your favourite sweets, cake, pastries, coffee, and drinking. 
  4. Come as you are. 
We know, you cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. So Hygge is for surviving boredom, sadness, depression, cold, and sameness. Hygge is talking about pleasure in the middle of life and a cure for sadness by way of enjoying togetherness, dialogue, and food.

Mark Wiking says, you cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. You cannot Hygge if you are in a hurry or stressed out. And the art of getting intimacy cannot be bought by anything, but time, interest, and engagement in the people around you.

Danish Word says, Hygge is used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming, or special. Hygge is a way of life - a lifestyle and doesn’t require learning “How to” or buying anything.

LAGOM (Sweden)

Lagom is a modest approach to life leading to “Balance” - not too much, not too little, but adequate. It means doing work or consuming food adequately.

Lagom teaches boundaries, balance, and mineralization by asking not to exceed personal limits. Lagom life lesson: 
  1. Reconcile rest 
  2. Opt for a moderate diet 
  3. Cultivate healthy relationships 
  4. Tidy up to your home and throw away unnecessary things. 
  5. Consume consciously 
  6. Practice technological detox of mobile and computers 
  7. Respect the environment, and last but most important, 
  8. Apply slow life
So Lagom is just the right amount, not too much, not too little, but balance. Lagom is a Swedish secret to explain a lifestyle based on social awareness sustainability and moderation.

Lagom is a recipe for being happy by living with less. Lagom teaches harmony, moderation universality. Lagom is summarised like this: 
  1. Be positive - Find happiness even in hidden corners and live sobriety as a conquest. 
  2. Importance of exercise and sleep - Find time for exercise and sleep. Both activities purify the mind and help to deal with everyday life in a positive spirit. 
  3. Sustainability and environment - Recycle and Reuse. 
  4. Choose functional, simple, and logical furniture. 
  5. Imperfection is beauty - Swedish people say, abandon the unattainable goal of perfection and allow the middle ground.

Ultimately, true happiness is knowing how to immerse oneself in one’s life with joy and preserve the strength to face everyday life with serenity, simplicity, awareness, and harmony.


Wabi = Subdued austere beauty
Sabi = Rustic patina

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese way of living a happy life. Wabi-Sabi is a worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. They ask us, via Wabi-Sabi, to accept and appreciate the beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and simple in nature. 
  • Simplicity: Life is empty. Let us fill it with simplicity, nobility, and humility. At the same time, relax and don’t be in a hurry. “Slow down” to enjoy life all around. 
  • Imperfection: Nothing is ever finished to perfection. Instead, accept imperfection. Robert Watson Watt said, give them the third best to go with because the second best comes too late and the best never comes! Enjoy the cracks and lines of an object’s imperfection. 
  • Impermanence: Nothing lasts forever as it is. It changes human beings- A child becomes young and ultimately old- Accept the importance of aging and respect grey hair and creases in the skin. Enjoy these changes by making them interesting. 
To summarise the long story short:

Happiness in life can be achieved in many ways. All you need is a sincere attempt to get it.

  • Bhagavadgita teaches total surrender to God and witness only to all that happens. Keep working and the result will be pleasant. 
  • Netherlands’ Nikesen tells us to do nothing for maximum ten minutes a day. 
  • Denmark’s Danish ask for Hygge - Enjoy eating with family doing dialogue. 
  • Swedish Lagom describes limiting, without doing too much or too less, only adequate. 
  • Lastly, Japanese Wabi-Sabi teaches simplicity, slowness, and accepting impermanence and imperforation. 

Decide what suits your nature and happiness will be with you forever.

An ophthalmologist by qualification and profession, Dr. Bharatchandra Desai loves reading about history, religion, and spirituality. He has written about them and also about 'Anavils' at length. Read all articles. ડૉ. ભરતચંદ્ર દેસાઈના ગુજરાતી લેખો વાંચવા અહીં ક્લિક કરો.


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