The Secret to Danish Happiness | Greater Good

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_secret_to_danish_happiness

For over 40 years in a row, Denmark has been voted as one of the happiest countriesin the world. During this month’s Democratic primary debate, candidate Bernie Sanders said, “We should look to countries like Denmark” if we wanted the US to become a happier place—a comment that triggered fierce debate about Denmark’s public policies.

What is the secret to the emotional success of this small Northern European country? In our new book The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide To Raising The Happiest Kids in the World, I explore this question with my co-author, Danish psychotherapist Iben Sandahl. At least part of the answer lies with the Danish way of “hygge”—pronounced “hooga.”

The word dates back to the 19th century. It is derived from the Germanic word hyggja, which means to think or feel satisfied. There are no exact translations of hygge but some attempts are “cozy” or “homey”—words that do little to encompass the full spectrum of what it is.

Hygge is essentially drama-free togetherness time. It is cozying around or “at hygge sig,” but more than that, it is being aware that that cozy time is sacred—and treating it as such. Because Danes see hygge as such a fundamental aspect of good living, they all work together to make it happen. Hygge is “we time,” not “me time”

Hygge is considered such a powerful factor in Danish happiness that some universities in the UK and the US have started offering courses on it. Many think it is about lighting candles, preparing good food, and creating a nice atmosphere. But this is only the surface aspect of hygge. The truth is, it is so much deeper than that.

So what is hygge exactly?

Try to imagine going to a drama-free family gathering. There are no divisive discussions about politics, family issues, or Aunt Jenny’s dysfunctional kids. No snide comments, complaining, or heavy negativity. Everyone helps out, so that not one person gets stuck doing all the work. No one brags, attacks anyone, or competes with another. It is a light-hearted, balanced interaction that is focused on enjoying the moment, the food, and the company. In short, a shelter from the outside world.

For some, that may sound normal for family gatherings. For most of us, it isn’t.

Photo: Moyan Brenn (CC-BY-20)

These unspoken rules of hygge are precisely what make it so special. American anthropologists who have studied Danish hygge have been struck by the effortless flow in hyggelig interactions and how no one tries to take center stage. It is a moment in time where everyone takes off their masks and leaves difficulties at the door, in order to appreciate the power of presence with others.

There are mountains of research to support how importantsocial ties are for well-being. Feeling connected to others gives meaning and purpose to all of our lives. Social ties can increase longevity, reduce stress, and even boost our immune system. By dedicating specific time to “hygge” we can create a safe space for families and friends to be together without stress. However, it takes everyone wanting this and working together to achieve it.

Researchers also find that Denmark’s egalitarianism plays an important role. For example, a 2009 study by Robert Biswas-Diener and colleagues found that while rich Americans and Danes were equally happy, what really made the difference is that low-income Danes were much, much happier than their American counterparts. This is consistent with findings that high levels of equality translate into happier societies. Unsurprisingly, egalitarianism is also a core value of hygge,according to anthropologists. In this way, perhaps, the rules governing private life in Denmark translate into the kind of public gains cited by Bernie Sanders.

Here are five rules for hygge—some of which you may want to apply to your own life.

More on Happiness & Social Ties

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1. Come as you are. Be yourself. Your real self. Let your guard down. You won’t be attacked on hygge turf and you won’t attack in turn. When we strip ourselves of trying to prove something we can all connect in a much more real way. Competition, boasting, and pretense are not bonding, but rather subtly dividing.

2. Forget the controversy. If your topic is too serious, divisive or controversial, it probably isn’t hyggeligt, Hygge is about a balanced ebb and flow of discussion in a lighthearted way. The focus is on the moment and being in the moment. We have plenty of time in our everyday lives to argue and debate and experience drama but hygge is about enjoying the food, the company and not getting caught up in things that take away from that. Thus, complaining, heavy negativity, judging and arguing are not allowed in the hygge space.

3. Think of yourself as a team member. Everyone sees what he or she can do to contribute, without being asked. This makes the whole team flow better and no one gets stuck doing all the work. When everyone works together in preparing, serving, pouring, and conversing, then hygge is in full bloom. But everyone has to understand that they are part of that team.

4. See hygge as a shelter from the outside. Hygge time is about providing a temporary shelter from social climbing, networking, competition, and materialism. A place where everyone can relax and open their hearts without judging, no matter what is going on in their life. For better or for worse, this place is sacred and problems can be left outside. This is special because it allows for families and friends to always be able to connect in this space without fear of judgment.

5. Remember it is time limited. Making hygge can be challenging for a non-Dane. No one taking center stage, no one bragging or complaining, no one being too negative and everyone trying to be present without arguing? This is hard to do for a lot of families! But the payoff is enormous. It feels incredible to share these drama-free moments with those you care about. If you realize that it is only for a dinner or a lunch or a limited period of time, it makes it much easier to really try and enjoy that moment.

Your problems will be waiting for you outside hygge’s door when you leave. But for a little while they can wait outside for the sake of the something bigger.

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MYTHAPHI – A NEW UNDERSTANDING

http://mythaphi.com/a-new-understanding-movie/

Death is as much a part of life as birth. We all know we are heading there, yet Western culture does everything possible to ignore it. Although our mortality is inevitable, we still can’t begin to imagine dying or what happens after we die. The truth is we fear death.

Each year 2.5 million people die in the U.S. Over twenty percent of these deaths are due to cancer. In 2015, over 589,000 Americans will die of cancer and 1,658,370 new cancer cases will be diagnosed. While we can’t change these numbers, we can change the approach to which we come to terms with the inevitable. A New Understanding documents novel research that utilizes psilocybin as the remedy for emotional trauma that comes with a terminal diagnosis.

Witness the story of three individuals that were part of a larger study exploring this unique palliative care technique. The research documented in this film will transform your take on cancer treatment, and deeply empathize with the lasting peace the patients gain. With the convergence of science and spirituality combined with shifting paradigms, the psilocybin research is moving forward quickly with the likelihood that within the next five to six years, this could be a palliative care option approved by the FDA and DEA.

In the New York Times article ‘Hallucinogens have Doctors Tuning in Again’, Dr. Charles Grob describes psilocybin as ‘existential medicine’ that aids people in overcoming fear, anxiety and depression. Grob, who is part of the research team in our documentary, reveals “Individuals transcend [their physical state] and experience ego-free states before the time of their actual physical demise, and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance of the life constant: change.” Our team strongly supports this life-changing research and needs community support to spread this information, and help people find peace with their lives.

Major media is beginning to cover this research, and A New Understanding offers a much closer look at the science and the personal stories of patients. After six years in the making and continuously jumping through bureaucratic hoops to approve research, we offer the world a poignant look the difference this research is making in people’s lives.

The patients documented in A New Understanding had terminal cancer, but we all share the certainty of death. How are we as individuals, and collectively as a society, providing comfort for a life lived? I won’t spoil the ending but I will say this – the healing breakthroughs in this documentary will surprise you!

“When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences.”

Our mission is to bring this modern knowledge to the people who are seeking answers to new ways of being – while at the same time, honoring the confluence of science and spirituality for an emerging new paradigm on dying.

If you were moved by A New Understanding and want to share its message with family and friends, we are offering the HD download and lifetime access to the entire collection of footage produced for this documentary. Plus they both come with a bunch of great bonuses AND a portion of the proceeds support future research. Sign up below to get access to your free screening today!

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Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors – Reset.me

http://reset.me/story/science-proving-memories-passed-ancestors/

Do you have a fear of spiders? Maybe snakes? It could be your ancestors trying to tell you something. Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.

A 2013 study from Emory University found that  mice trained to fear a specific odor would pass their emotions on to their offspring and future generations. Scientists applied electric shocks to mice as they exposed them to the smell of cherry blossoms. The mice then bred, and both the children and grandchildren of the affected rodents demonstrated a fear of cherry blossoms the first time they smelled them.

“Our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations,” Dr. Brian Dias of the Emory University department of psychiatry said to theDaily Telegraph. “Such a phenomenon may contribute to the etiology and potential intergenerational transmission of risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The study went beyond just observing a fear reaction. Scientists actually looked at the brains of the animals and found physical changes in the areas that process odors, and also found a marker on the odor gene of the mouse DNA.

The experiment worked even when the researchers used artificial insemination in place of allowing the mice to breed naturally. The scientists still aren’t sure how the fear imprint makes it into the sperm — whether the smell itself passes through the blood, or the brain processes the odor and sends its own signal.

“It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously,” Prof Marcus Pembrey, from University College London saidto the BBC. “I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach.”

Humans have long sought to understand memory and heredity, nature vs. nurture and how much information parents actually transmit to their children. The nature study is another step toward answering our questions about exactly what, and how much of our forebearers’ experiences get passed down through DNA.

Primordial Fears

There is already a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ brains are uniquely tuned to recognize snakes, suggesting that we gained an innate fear of the reptiles over the course of our evolutionary development. A 2011 study in Current Directions in Psychological Science found that human infants aren’t necessarily afraid of snakes from birth, but they learn to fear them more quickly than they learn to fear other more innocuous stimuli like flowers and rabbits.

“What we’re suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice,” study co-author Vanessa LoBue of Rutgers University said in a press release. The research built on previous work by LoBue and her team that showed that people were able to identify snakes and spiders more quickly than other animals and objects. There’s even evidence that primates actually developed large brains and keen eyesight as a defense measure to avoid falling prey to snakes.

Another study found that unborn crickets whose mothers were stalked by wolf spiders showed more fear of spiders after they were born than control crickets — not to mention a higher survival rate. At this point there’s little doubt that fear gets passed down through the generations — now we’re learning about how.

Rewriting The DNA

Fear isn’t the only thing that gets imprinted in our genes. Recent breakthroughs have made big strides in understanding epigenetics — how our DNA gets changed by environmental factors. A studypublished in 2013 revealed details about how certain aspects of DNA can be turned on or turned off, and therefore passed on to offspring or not. A report last year found that Crohn’s disease can cause epigenetic changes in people who suffer from it. And scientists were able to edit the DNA of mice to cure them of an inheritable liver disease — with hope that the same process would work in humans.

Other researchers are working on how to encode DNA with specific information. A study led by synthetic biologist Timothy Lu of MIT and published in Science in 2014 found a way to rewrite living DNA in a cell and watch as the altered information was transferred to new cells. The researchers changed cells to make them sense light and react to other stimuli. Next, they hope to use the technology to make a recording of the cell’s environment for study, such as placing the cells in water for a week and then testing them for toxins.

Other scientists have managed to etchthe equivalent of a megabyte worth of data onto DNA, and then read it back. Both studies are more geared toward gathering and storing information, but the more we learn about how to change DNA, the possibility looms that we could learn how memories are implanted — and someday even artificially create hereditary memories, if scientific interest and ethics allowed such an outcome.

Beyond The Physical Realm

The idea of memories being written into DNA could provoke speculation about phenomenon like visions of past lives, although it might be a leap to go from a reaction to odor to the recall of specific and discrete memories.

Polish Professor of Pedogogy Andrzej Szyszko-Bohusz has worked since the 1960s to promote a theory of genetic immortality in which parental consciousness is transmitted to children along with DNA and other hereditary information. More recently, University of Virginia (UVA) professor Jim Tucker hypothesizes that consciousness needs no physical binding at all to pass on. Tucker, who studies children who have memories of past lives, claims that quantum physics suggests that our physical world is created by our consciousness. Therefore, consciousness doesn’t need the world, let alone a brain, to exist, and could simply affix itself to a new brain once it passes out of a dying one.

“I understand the leap it takes to conclude there is something beyond what we can see and touch,” Tucker said to UVA Magazine. “But there is this evidence here that needs to be accounted for, and when we look at these cases carefully, some sort of carry-over of memories often makes the most sense.”

He calls it the science of reincarnation. Whether he is on the right track, or we discover that memories are passed down by DNA all along, or there is some other mechanism we don’t know about yet, is still to be determined.

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Watch “FREEDOM WITHIN LIMITS IN MONTESSORI ENVIRONMENT” on YouTube

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2015/08/14/freedom-within-limits-in-montessori-education/

There are a number of common misconceptions about Montessori education. One is that Montessori education is too structured and controlled. Another is that children are allowed to do whatever they want. Instead, Montessori education embodies an important concept … freedom within limits.

What is “Freedom within Limits”?

“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission.” Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook

“To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Any true Montessori environment encourages children to move about freely and choose their own work within reasonable limits of appropriate behavior.

Those limits are the basic ground rules of the classroom. For example, children are free to move about the classroom and choose their activities as long as they’ve been shown a presentation of the work and they use the materials respectfully. Children are free to work together or individually, but they must be invited to work with another child and they must not interfere with another child’s work.

“The liberty of the child ought to have as its limits the collective interest of the community in which he moves; its form is expressed in what we call manners and good behaviour. it is our duty then to protect the child from doing anything which may offend or hurt others, and to check the behaviour which is unbecoming or impolite. But as regards all else, every action that has a useful purpose, whatever it may be and in whatever forms it shows itself, ought not only to be permitted, but it ought to be kept under observation, that is the essential point.”  Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child

“[Children] have shown us that freedom and discipline are two faces of the same medal, because scientific freedom leads to discipline. Coins usually have two faces, one being more beautiful, finely chiseled, bearing a head or allegorical figure, while the other is less ornate, with nothing but a number or some writing. The plain side can be compared to freedom, and the finely chiseled side to discipline.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Through freedom within limits, the child can develop independence and self-confidence as well as respect for both him- or herself and others.

Some Helpful Resources about Freedom within Limits

Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents by Maren Schmidt and Dana Schmid has a thorough explanation of freedom within limits. I love this quote from the book: “Being free to do what we ought to do within limits of responsibility is true freedom.”

My category of grace and courtesy postsand eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy help children from ages 2-12 learn rules of etiquette and to respect the rights of others.

My post “What Does the Montessori Term ‘Normalization’ Mean?” tells about the stages children go through in Montessori education to become self-disciplined.

My post on “A Montessori Approach to Discipline” has a number of references to freedom and discipline.

Freedom Within Limits in Montessori Environment – Video

Here’s a video with some lovely examples of freedom within limits in Montessori education:

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Something Extraordinary Is Happening In The World | MyScienceAcademy

http://myscienceacademy.org/2015/10/23/something-extraordinary-is-happening-in-the-world/

A few months ago, I freed myself from society, I’ve released myself from attachments I had and fear that locked me to the system. And since then, I started seeing the world from a different perspective. The perspective that everything is changing and most of us have not even realized that.

Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll list the reasons that take me to believe this.

1 — No one can stand the employment model anymore.

Each one is reaching its own limit. People that work in big corporations can’t handle their jobs. The lack of purpose starts to knock the door of each one as a desperate scream coming from the heart.

People want to escape. They want to leave everything behind. Look how many people trying to become entrepreneurs, how many people going on sabbaticals, how many people depressed in their jobs, how many people in burnout.

2- The entrepreneurship model is also changing

A few years ago, with the explosion of the startups, thousands of entrepreneurs, ran to their garages to create their billion dollar ideas. The glory was to get funded by an investor. Investor’s money in hand was just like winning the World Cup.

But what happens after you get funded?

You become an employee again. You have people that are not aligned with your dream, that don’t give a damn to the purpose and everything turns into money. The financial return starts to be the main driver.

Many people are suffering with this. Brilliant startups start to fall because the model of chasing money never ends.

We need a new model of entrepreneurship.

And there is already many good people doing this.

3- The rise of collaboration

Many people have already realized that makes no sense to go alone. Many people awake to this crazy mentality of “going on your own”.

Stop, take a step back and think. Isn’t it an absurd, we, 7 billion people living in the same planet get so separated from each other? What sense does it make, you and the thousands (or millions) of people living in the same city turn your back to each other? Everytime I get myself thinking on that, I get even kind of depressed.

But fortunately, things are changing. All the movements of sharing and collaborative economy are pointing towards this direction. The rise of collaboration, sharing, helping, giving hands, getting united.

It is beautiful. It makes tears come from my eyes.

4- We are finally starting to understand what the internet is

Internet is an incredibly spectacular thing and only now, after so many years we are understanding it’s power. With internet, the world opens, the barriers fall, separation ends, union starts, collaboration explodes, help emerges.

Some nations made revolution with the internet, such as the Arab Spring. In Brazil we are just starting to use better this magnificent tool.

Internet is taking down mass control. There is no more television, no more few newspapers showing the news they want us to read. You can go after whatever you want, you relate to whoever you want. You can explore whatever you want, whenever you want.

With internet, the small starts to get a voice. The anonymous become known. The world gets united. And the system may fall.

5- The fall of exaggerated consumption

For many years, we have been manipulated, stimulated to consume as maniacs. To buy everything that was launched in the market. To have the newest car, the latest iphone, the best brands, lots of clothes, lots of shoes, lots of lots, lots of everything.

But many people have already understood that it makes no sense at all. Movements such as the lowsumerism, slow life, slow food, start to show us that we have organized ourselves in the most absurd possible way.

Each time less people using cars, less people buying a lot, each time more people trading clothes, donating, buying old things, sharing goods, sharing cars, apartments, offices.

We need nothing of what they told us we needed.

And this consciousness can break any corporation that depends on the exaggerated consumption.

6- Healthy and organic eating

We were so crazy that we accepted eating any kind of garbage. It only needed to taste good in the mouth, that was ok.

We were so disconnected, that the guys started to add poison in our food and we didn’t say anything.

But then some guys started to wake up and give strength to movements of healthy eating and organic consumption.

And this is going to be huge.

Bu what does it has to be with economy and work? It has everything!

The production of food is the basis of our society. Food industry is one of the most importants of the world. If consciousness change, our eating habits also change, and consumption changes, and then the big corporations must follow these changes.

The small farmer is starting to have strength again. Also people who are planting their own food.

And that changes the whole economy.

7 — The awakening of spirituality

How many friends you have that practice yoga? What about meditation?

How many used to do it 10 years ago?

Spirituality for many years was a thing of the esoteric people. Of those weird people from mysticism.

But fortunately, this is also changing. We got to the limit of our rationality. We could see that only with the rational mind we cannot understand everything that happens here. There is something more happening and I know you want to understand.

You want to understand how things work in here. How life operates, what happens after death, what is this energy thing that people talk so much, what is quantum physics, how can thoughts become things and create our reality, what are coincidences and synchronicities, why meditation works, how is it possible to cure with the hands and what about these alternative therapies that medicine does not approve, but work?

Companies are promoting meditation to their employees. Schools teaching meditation to kids.

8 — Unschooling movements

Who created this teaching model? Who chose the classes you have to take? Who chose the lessons we learn in history classes? Why didn’t they teach us the truth about other ancient civilizations?

Why should the kids obey rules? Why should they watch everything in silence? Why should they wear uniform?

Take a test to prove that you learned?

We created a model that forms followers of the system. That prepare people to be ordinary human beings.

But fortunately there are many people working to change that. Movements like unschooling, hackschooling, homeschooling.

Maybe you have never thought of this and you are chocked with the points I’m listing here.

But all these things are happening.

Silently, people are awakening and realizing how craziness it is to live in this society.

Look at all these movements and try to thing everything is normal.

I don’t think it is.

There is something extraordinary happening.

Editors Note: Original Article was published my the https://medium.com

Article can be found here.

Authors credit:  Gustavo Tanaka

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