5 Happiness Secrets From Around the World

Learn what makes people happy.

Four happy friends enjoying the beach.

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The goal of most people is to be happy. But few know that happiness can be cultivated and that leading a happy life can also mean leading a healthier and more meaningful life.

While happiness, in the days of the pandemic, may seem elusive, there are ways you can increase your own happiness.  One of these is to learn about some of the happiness-boosting habits that are common to many cultures around the globe, according to Well + Good, that include social interactions and work-life balance.

“By learning from other cultures about happiness, well-being, and how to stay healthy and sane, I developed a better understanding of the challenges, subtleties, and nuances of being alive,” journalist and author Helen Russel told Well + Good.

“Learning what matters to people on the other side of the planet helps us all, since understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.” Check out these five happiness secrets from around the globe and see which ones you can incorporate into your own life.

Saudade – Brazil

The word saudade in Brazilian Portuguese is translated into a feeling of longing for the happiness that once was. It is almost like a bittersweet childhood memory, according to Well + Good. This concept is so accepted in Brazil’s culture that there is even a Saudade Day on January 30.

While this does not seem to relate to being happy, sometimes connecting with a sad memory of times and people who are gone, can actually spur you to connect with what you have today. This can help you feel more gratitude, which in turn will make you happier.

Nostalgically looking at photos.

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Lykke – Denmark

Practice lykke or happiness, warmth and joy. The idea of happiness is more than just something to be pursued in Denmark, according to The Daily Scandinavian. Happiness is valued as part of life balance, so much so, that Denmark opened a museum dedicated to happiness and routinely comes in second in the World Happiness Report.

Life-work balance leads to more happiness.

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Shinrin-Yoku – Japan

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku in Japanese is a unique way to fight stress and depression because being in nature has been proven to decrease stress levels in your blood. it’s very easy to do shinrin-yoku, according to Bright Side. Go to a forest and find a beautiful quiet space. Then, use all your senses to listen to and touch the trees while breathing in the aroma. This will relax and calm you while also giving you a sense of complete happiness.

Forest bathing in Japan.

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Meraki – Greece

The word meraki, translates to a precise expression of care, like in a much-loved pastime. This happiness secret, Russel told Well + Good, works to improve your life with a cherished hobby that gives you joy.

“Having a passion that you take pride in can be of extra benefit to those who can’t say the same for their primary occupation,” Russell said. “Many tasks that need to be taken care of on a day-to-day basis aren’t particularly challenging or inspiring. So stitch, paint, or sing your way to a happier life.

Having a hobby can make you happier.

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Dolce Far Niente – Italy

The sweetness of doing nothing or dolce far niente in Italian is all about savoring the moment. It's a way of enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff. That’s why the café culture is so big in Italy, don’t worry, sip an espresso, and just let life happen. You’ll be happier for it.

Enjoying life in a Rome café.

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