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Global goodness

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(Armchair) travel the world in search of health and happiness.

Future travel plans may have dried up, but it doesn’t mean we can’t tap into global wisdom to help us navigate this new normal. For the Danes, happiness is often associated with hygge and lykke. For Swedes, wellbeing aligns with lagom. And in Japan, the daily habits of Okinawans ensures their status as the world’s healthiest, longest-lived people.

But when it comes to unlocking happier, more mindful versions of ourselves, where on Earth do we start? We’re glad you asked. Check out these books and learn how to ikigai your way through isolation, ubuntu your outlook and lagom your life in lockdown.

The Little Book of Hygge
You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. Travel with CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Meik Wiking, as he offers practical advice on capturing that warm Danish glow.

The Lagom Life
The Swedish philosophy of lagom best translates as ‘not too much, not too little; just the right amount’. And this simple formula is a key to why Sweden has regularly been listed among the happiest countries in the world. In this pocket book, Elisabeth Carlsson lets us in on the secrets of the enviable – healthy, harmonious and happy – Swedish lifestyle, and offers ideas for leading a more lagom life.

The Okinawa Way: How to Improve Your Health and Longevity Dramatically
This comprehensive four-week plan is a practical method for slowing the symptoms of ageing. Written by the lead scientists of the 25-year Okinawa Centenarian Study, you’ll discover the diet, exercise and lifestyle practices of the world’s healthiest, longest-lived people, and how you can apply elements of their routines to your own life.

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
The people of Japan believe that everyone has an ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. This book gives you the tools you need to uncover these driving forces. Learn how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions, so you can bring meaning and joy to your everyday.

The Key to Happiness​
Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is back, and this time he asks:

What can we learn from the world’s happiest people? While many people live lives of quiet desperation, a few find themselves at the very top of the happiness scale. Their behaviour is different. Their outlook is different. Their priorities are different. In this comprehensive, easy-to-read and beautifully illustrated guide, you’ll find tips to harness everyday happiness.

Everyday Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an ancient Southern African philosophy about how to live life well, together. It is a belief in a universal human bond, which says: I am only because you are. And it means that if you can see everyone as fully human, connected to you by their humanity, you will never be able to treat others as disposable or without worth.