I'm super chuffed to be part of the #look4lykke blog tour hosted by Penguin Life and Meik Wiking. Today is day four of the tour and I'm bringing you my thoughts on this charming book. Keep on reading for a Happiness Tip at the end and be sure to check out the other bloggers!
I'm a twenty-one year old recent English graduate based in East London. I live at home with my family and I walked to my lectures. My 'home' is a three bedroom flat in a two floor maisonette overlooking a seemingly busy road. Of the thirty-five flats in the building, I know a total of five families intimately. For someone like me, reading about the pursuit of happiness, admittedly, seemed like something you reminisced of and not actively created.
Meik's The Little Book of Lykke suggests otherwise. Following on from the success of the bestselling The Little Book of Hygge - an insight into the Danish concept of 'cosiness' - Meik sets out to show that despite Denmark being the 'World's Happiest Country', lykke - happiness - can be sought in places across the globe.
"The days, it is easier to notice the fighting and rather than what is fine. It is easy to point towards the grey skies and dark clouds, but perhaps we all need to be more like Samwise the Stout-hearted... and see what is good in this world of ours."
Using his research from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Meik presents a collage of case studies and stories, facts and statistics, tips and photos. Reading his findings is an overwhelming discovery of the ways people lead happy lives wherever they are in the world - be it Australia, London or Detroit.
"The street-community resources grew to include a shared cargo bike, the Hulbert Street Book Exchange (bring a book, take a book) and a pizza oven on wheels (owned by no one yet shared by all), which led to weekly pizza dinners. And goats. Yes, goats. Two houses agreed to take down the fence between their lots and made room for them."
What this book does wonderfully is show how easy it is to create a street community and the benefits of one for a sense of trust and security, your children's safety, your money and most importantly - happiness. So not only are you longing to visit Denmark for a taste of a candle-infused dinner by the fireplace after reading this but you're inspired to ask after your neighbour instead of scurrying past home.
I also couldn't help comparing the lifestyle of the Danes - or the French when it came to food and the Japanese for health - with the lives of Londoners. Naturally, I was surprised to find that the UK's population was the twenty-third happiest in the world. I did not see that when we grumbled about the weather or paid taxes or even hosted dinners. One of Meik's tip to plant a community is setting up a community garden. I help my mother every week at her plot in our local farm and yet the garden is rife with suspicion, sabotage and theft.
Perhaps, part of this is due to the environment I live in. The city - as Meik will agree - nurtures its own breed of hostility, guardedness and impatience. In comparison, I have visited towns in the small state of Vermont - so small, a member of the US Embassy didn't recognise it - and the even smaller Welsh book town of Hay-on-Wye and I have marvelled at their love of sharing stories and hosting welcomers. For their former, their proximity to each other and stunning natural landscapes every season got them out of their houses whilst the latter united over a shared love of reading. These interactions are partly why I hope to leave the noises of the city and settle in the countryside, blanketed by forests with neighbours to call on.
If anything, The Little Book of Lykke has made me a little less skeptic that happy people are the stuff of dreams. I'm grateful of that.
Is your country a 'happy' place? How would YOU measure your happiness?
The Little Book of Lykke is available to order now from Amazon! Click the link here to purchase.