Show #43: Hygge and the Happiness paradox with Meik Wiking


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Now onto the show…

This week I’m chatting to the wonderful Meik Wiking – A man with an idea to research happiness who then founded the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark – the happiest country on earth. In this show, we discuss 2 things. Firstly, The Happiness Paradox – what makes Denmark a recurring winner of the title “Happiest country in the world” and why the happiest countries in the world don’t have the lowest suicide rates. Secondly, we go on to chat about Hygge and his New York Times best seller: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living well. It’s a meaningful chat and one I know you’ll be able to take on the challenge we set for all listeners this week with gusto.

 Here’s a little snapshot of the goodies in today’s episode…

– Happiness researcher
– Author of The Little Book of Hygge
– Meik had a major wake up call when both a close family member and a friend died at the age 49
– Meik decided to use his time to research and redefine happiness
– It’s well documented that Danish people rank among the happiest people in the world and Meik wanted to break down exactly why this was
– The main focus is quality of life
– Genetics matter, we are often born happy or born less happy
– Identical twins generally have similar happiness levels as adults despite often living in vastly different circumstances
– When you think about the genetic link with mental illness it makes sense that happiness also shares that same genetic link
– Happiness is definitely subjective
– Money rarely results in happiness
– Although Danish people are the among the happiest in the world this doesn’t result in lower suicide rates
– Discussion about the Suicide/Happiness paradox
– When there’s high level of life satisfaction there is usually a high rate of suicide which suggests that it’s harder to be sad in a happier environment
– The relevance of social comparisons
– Position in social hierarchy is of importance in happiness
– Hygge is a general feeling of well-being, happiness, contentment and comfort
– It’s part of the national identity, it’s acknowledged and is something that is a part of every day
– Danes consume more candle was than most other countries
– Little ways to bring Hygge into your life
– It’s the small, everyday pursuit of happiness
– Working over time is just not part of the culture in Denmark


Try a week of candlelit dinners. It’s been proven time again how the ritual of sitting down to a meal at a table results in increased family time and longer dinners. So this week I’m challenging you to have a full week of candlelit dinners. Just try it! It might well be a game changer for your family.

Don’t forget to find your ‘nook’ in your home and invite people over to cook dinner together. Meik’s extra little tips for this weeks hygge.

Here are all the important links:

Happiness Reaserch Institute

The World Happiness Report




Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world. (To do this from your phone, you can’t be ‘in the show list’ – go to the podcast search function and type low tox life, and then click on the show and click ‘review’. Annoyingly tricky but hey. I figured I may as well help you out if you’re going to take the time to leave a review!)

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet

Comments 4

  1. Great conversation!!
    When I listened to your conversation with the guy about omitting light at night time, we started using candles all the time. But as usual, life gets busy and old habits come back. But listening to this has made me want to do it again. A great idea to lights candles during dinner time.

  2. Loved this podcast. Perfect for this time of year too. Naturally got my hygge on with a warm cuppa while listening. Thanks Alexx and Meik

  3. Thanks Alexx, for a great podcast. Tonight I made a special effort for dinner. I made your pumpkin soup, got some lovely fresh bread, and lit some candles. We talked and laughed, and told stories. It worked a treat. Such a wonderful reminder of the importance of creating special moments and atmosphere.

  4. Pingback: Slow your own – screen-free eating week 4 – Words of Slow

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