Monday, January 28, 2013

On Happiness

It's been a month and a half back stateside, and today in class my professor brought up the fact that the Danes are the happiest people in the world.  Now, I've spent years trying to be the best possible version of myself.  The problem, I think, is that what I've considered the "best" version of myself has varied greatly at different times in my life.

I think at this point, my goal is just to try to be happy and to do the best I can within those confines.  And, for that, I'm trying to pull some lessons from my time in Denmark.

So, without further ado, Rachel's Keys to Happiness (The Danish Way):
  • Don't Try to Do or Be Everything: This is completely antithetical to the UR way of life, and I know that.  I go to a school of over-achievers and the over-involved.  But from now on, I'm going to try and stick to only those things that I have the time to do and do well, rather than beating myself up for not having three majors, two minors, and being the president of six clubs.
  • Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourself: I've noticed I feel a lot better about myself when I take the time to take care of myself -- to eat foods that make me feel good, drink enough water, work out.  They take up time, but I end up feeling like an entirely different person.
  • Don't Judge Yourself in Comparison to Others: Thank you Jantelov.  This set of the tenets of Danish life come down to "Don't think you're better or smarter or more deserving than anyone else"...but at the same time realizing that it means you're no less of those things either.
  • Don't Take Life Too Seriously: If there's one thing I really learned from the Danes, it's that when it comes to joking, nothing is off limits.  And not taking life or any one aspect of it too seriously is a struggle that I need to remind myself of on a regular basis -- but one that will ultimately leave me a lot less stressed and a lot happier.
  • Don't Be Afraid to Take Some Time: Danes put off going to college longer than we do.  Danes put off marriage and kids longer than we do.  And that time to make the big decisions, I think, probably gives you some analytical distance and maturity to help make those decisions when the time is right.  I'm not as a afraid to not know RIGHT NOW what I want or need to do.
  • LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS: The secret to happiness is low expectations. Seriously.
So that's the life goal right now -- live life just a bit more Danish (and embrace the happy that hopefully follows).  So I have the keys... now I just have to look for the locks.

Keyed in,
Rachel Leigh

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