Living Danishly Part II

In my previous post we discussed the book “A Year of Living Danishly” and covered the first two of the ten principles that Helen Russell suggests as a way to live more Danishly.

3. Use Your Body
Cycle, run, jump, dance, have sex. Shake whatever you’ve got. Using your body not only releases get-happy endorphins, it’ll also make you look hotter, Danish-style.

Physical activity has definitely helped me over the past few years. I’ve become more physically active and worked on getting into better shape and lose weight. I’ll admit I feel better and I’m starting to enjoy the exercise. I do enjoy getting out and running or hiking and I’ll get back into biking once I replace my bike pump.

4. Address the aesthetics
Make your environment as beautiful as you can. Danes do, and it engenders a respect for design, art and their everyday surroundings. Remember the broken window syndrome, where places that look uncared for just get worse? The reverse also applies.

Personalizing your environment and making it beautiful are great ways to be happier. We’re working on theming our house to be more to our liking. We bought it last year and we’re fixing up the yard and working on upgrading the interior. We’d love to have a house that we’re happy to come home to.

5. Streamline your options
If living in Sticksville has taught me one thing, it’s that cutting down on choice can take some of the hassle out of modern life. Too many options for things to do, places to eat (ha!) or what to wear (hello London wardrobe) can feel like a burden rather than a benefit. Danes specialise  in stress-free simplicity and freedom within boundaries.

For me, this is a hard one. We have so much to choose from in every decision that it can be overwhelming. Going to the grocery store is a weekly exercise in comparison shopping. Just try picking something as simple as jelly and there are so many choices it can be overwhelming. You’ve got to choose between different brands, fruit type, regular or “all fruit”, or with or without seeds, just to name a few choices. Even on what should be simpler decisions there are a plethora of products and choices. Several books, studies, and articles (yes, there are even multiple articles, books, and studies on how we have too many choices) have all been done on having too many choices wrecking decision making, stress people out, and cause us to put off or not even make a decision. While having options is wonderful, at some point people become overwhelmed and feel there is too much work to make decisions on something they want. If you can streamline down what you’re looking for,  you can reduce your stress level when making decisions on anything.

6. Be proud
Find something that you, or folk from your home town, are really good at and Own It. Celebrate success, from football to tiddlywinks (or crab racing). Wave flags and sing at every available opportunity.

I’ll admit that I like watching soccer. My sons play, and I also like watching the local team play. We’ve even got a local group of folks who come out and cheer every game. The Chattahooligans are raucous and loud and they have a great time. While I don’t sit with them, I do smile when they enter the stands in a parade and start enthusiastically cheering. They add to the spirit of the game and it makes a huge difference in the entertainment of the game itself.

If we work to make ourselves happier, we can also hope to make the world around us better and everyone becomes happier. I think I’m going to go for a run with the dog. I need to work more on #3 and then I’ll go plant shopping with my wife (#4).



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