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Ep 80. How to be Happier with Meik Wiking

November 18, 2019

The Art of Making Memories, is on the importance of happy memories on our health and wellbeing and how we can create more happy moments in the future. Meik Wiking is one of today’s most influential happiness researchers. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times Bestsellers: The Little Book of […]

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The Art of Making Memories, is on the importance of happy memories on our health and wellbeing and how we can create more happy moments in the future.

Meik Wiking is one of today’s most influential happiness researchers. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times Bestsellers: The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke. With more than one million copies sold worldwide, in more than 35 languages, he enjoys a wide readership.


Meik has been called The Indiana Jones of Smiles and probably the World´s happiest man by The Times. His new book, The Art of Making Memories, is on the importance of happy memories on our health and wellbeing and how we can create more of happy moments in the future.

We discuss:

  • The ingredients for happy memories
  • How his techniques could help with depression
  • Meik shares his top tips for happiness

You can find Meik on Instagram @meikwiking

This episode is sponsored by Kloris CBD. BY Get 10% off Kloris CBD oil when you enter the code ‘calmeryou’ at www.kloriscbd.com

CBD oil and public speaking anxiety  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/)

This episode is also sponsored by Dorset Cereals check out their range at www.dorsetcereals.co.uk

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TRANSCRIPT

Chloe B.:                Hello, and welcome to the calmer you podcast. This is the place to be calm at your calmest, happiest, and most confident self. I’m your host Chloe Brotheridge, hypnotherapist, and coach and the author of the anxiety solution and brave new girl. So today, I’m talking to Meik Wiking, who is the author of the new book, the art of making memories. And you might have heard of a couple of his other books, including the New York Times bestsellers the little book of Hygge and the little book of Lykke.

So Meik is one of today’s most influential happiness researchers, he’s been called the Indiana Jones of smiles, and probably the world’s happiest man by the times. And his latest book, the art-making memories, is about the importance of memories on our health and well-being, and how we can create more happy moments in the future. And we get into what the ingredients for happy memories are. We talk about his techniques and how they could help with depression, and we get into Meik’s top tips for happiness, and he is really the expert in this field.

So I absolutely loved this conversation, there were loads of things that I’m going to be incorporating into my life following this chat that we had, and I hope you like it so if you would like to hear about the latest podcast episodes and also receive a free anxiety toolkit from me, which includes a hypnotherapy mp3 affirmations and worksheets. You can head on over to Calmeryou.com/free pop your details in there, and I’ll send over all of those freebies. So let’s get into the episode with Meik Wiking.

Chloe B.:                This episode is sponsored by Kloris CBD oil. Everyone in the anxiety world is talking about CBD oil, but if you don’t know what it is, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, and it’s used as a food supplement with promising evidence that it actually helps to calm anxiety. One study found a produced anxiety during public speaking, and the link to this is in the show notes. And it’s also believed that CBD oil could help manage pain, such as period pain, by reducing inflammation.

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Chloe B.:                So welcome Meik, thank you so much for joining me.

Meik W.:               Thanks for having me.

Chloe B.:                How are you today? I’m well; I’m well, thanks.

Chloe B.:                Good.

Meik W.:               How are you?

Chloe B.:                I’m good. I’m in a really good mood today, actually, which is appropriate for the conversation we’re having today. Can you share a little bit about what you do and how you got to where you are today?

What is the Happiness Research Institute?

Meik W.:               Yes. So I work at something called a happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. And all our work and my career is essentially dedicated to answering three questions. I try to understand how can we actually measure something as intangible and subjective as happiness or the good life. Secondly, why is it that some people are happier than others? And thirdly what can we do to improve the quality of life? How can we design our cities differently, our workplaces differently, policies differently, and basically our lives differently?

And I started noticing back in 2012 how much was happening with happiness research, and happiness in politics. Because at the time, the UN had published or decided on a happiness resolution and also started to commission the world happiness report, and you had different governments looking at well-being as a new measure of progress.

As you know, David Cameron here in the UK, he said instead of just looking at whether we get richer, we should also see whether people get happier. And I thought there’s a lot happening with happiness and politics, and happiness research, there should be somebody in Denmark looking at this from a scientific point of view; somebody should create a think-tank and knowledge center around this field. Somebody should look into why is it that Denmark often do well in these happiness rankings, and then I thought maybe I should do that.

But this was 2012, so it’s just in the wake of the financial crisis, and I had a steady job, and I thought oh, it’s also going to be a little bit risky to start something as crazy as a happiness Research Institute. But then the personal side of the story was that my mentor at the company that I was working for, who I really looked up to in many ways, he, unfortunately, died when he was 49.

And many years ago, my own mother had also died when she was 49, so I naturally started to sort of reflect on what if I only lived to see 49, what should I spend those years I have left doing? And I thought I can continue with this job I have, and it’s fine, but I’m not super passionate about it. Or I can try and see where this happiness Research Institute thing could lead me.

And I just sensed that there was a lot of passion in that feel for me, I was lying awake at night thinking about all the different things you could do within happiness research, and how you could try and study it. And then I essentially just quit and started out with what I thought was a good idea and a bad [Inaudible 00:05:56.24], and that’s six years ago, yes.

Chloe B.:                Brilliant. I don’t think there’s any more important topic than the happiness actually. If you ask people what they want, they might say oh I want more money, or I want this or that but actually what they really want is happiness, that’s kind of at the end of the day what people want. So it’s a good area to be working in.

What makes us happy?

Meik W.:               I think I mean it is the most important question we can try and answer. And you’re completely right, it’s the end reason, right? Why are you doing this? It always ends with because I think that will make me happier, more happy. And it’s an ancient question, right? Aristotle tried to answer some of the same questions I’m trying to answer. So it’s a common universal human pursuit, I think.

Chloe B.:                Do you have a definition of happiness? Because is it one of those things that is different for everyone?

Meik W.:               Well, I mean to some extent, yes, it’s somewhat different from person to person, but so are a lot of things. What is beauty? What is good manners? What is good management? What is sadness? What is loneliness? That’s also different from person to person, I would say. And I don’t think it should be more difficult to study a positive emotion compared to a negative emotion, but it is a wide term. I mean you, and we have different perceptions of what happiness is, what the good life might be. But I think we make it harder than it is by saying that happiness cannot be studied because we just break it down and then look at the different components.

And also if we talk about the British economy how is that doing, we would look at growth, we would look at how’s the pound doing, the unemployment rate, inflation rate, GDP per capita and then gives us language to talk about how is the UK economy doing, and that’s also what we need to do with happiness I think. Break it down, look at different components.

So we look at what kind of emotions do people experience on a daily basis, both positive and negative ones. We also look at whether they’re satisfied overall with life; we look at whether they have a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning in life. I think all of those ingredients are part of a dish called happiness; it’s a full plate, full of both pleasure and purpose.

Chloe B.:                Absolutely, yes. And I loved your latest book it’s called the art of making memories. And just reading through it, I was starting to have conversations with people about memories, and reminiscing with my partner about things. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Meik W.:               Yes. So it’s actually an attempt to answer some of the questions I mentioned before, why are some people happier than others, and how can we increase happiness. And I can see that people who are able to retrieve happy memories; people who are able to form a positive narrative about their life are, on average happier. And so naturally, I hope that people, we can help people make more happy memories in the future and be better at holding on to them and retrieving them.

And the inspiration for the book came, this was a year and a half ago I turned 40. And that means statistically speaking in Denmark; I have lived half my life because then in Denmark, many live on average to 80. So I reflected looking back, okay, my first 40 years, my first half what were my happiest moments in that part? And what are my happiest memories? And how can I use that knowledge going forward and create happy memories in the future?

Chloe B.:                That’s such an important thing to reflect on, naturally something I hadn’t really thought about that much. I think a lot of us we don’t spend enough time asking ourselves these questions or actually create that consciously creating more of those happy kind of memories and looking back so that we can do that better.

Meik W.:               Exactly. I think I’ve been one of those thinking that memory was something random, something unconscious, something spontaneous, something that just happens. Whereas researching the book, I’ve come to appreciate that okay; there’s actually something I can do to some extent influence what I and my family and friends remember. There’s actually some control over who or what our future selves will think back on.

Chloe B.:                And you actually did a study, the happy memory study where you got a thousand people?

Meik W.:               More than a thousand from more than 75 different countries. So from Norway and Nepal and New Zealand, I think we have the biggest global collection of happy memories. And I’ll give you an example, so there was a British woman in her 30s who decides to go to the beach with her family, and they have this dream of cooking a breakfast on the beach. And they go out there, and it’s cold, it’s windy, they can’t seem to get the fire going, and they end up on this cold, windy beach eating horrendous food, and it’s a half-cooked porridge. But she says it was unrivaled family time; it’s one of her fondest memories.

And they’re sitting there under these big blankets, and it’s a really bonding experience for them as a family. And so that’s one example of one of the happy memories we collected, but it’s surprisingly something that, every memory I read was something I could relate to, I get it why that memory was a happy memory from that person.

It could be the British lady I just talked about or an Iraqi man who was about my age but remembers back from a time he was eight, and he bought a toy with his own money for the first time. I also get why that sense of accomplishment; this is something that is still treasured today.

Chloe B.:                So potentially hearing about other people’s happy memories could trigger your own memories as well, when you reminisce about oh yes, that’s the time on the beach when I was with my friends.

Meik W.:               Exactly.

Chloe B.:                Yes, that’s pretty lovely.

Meik W.:               That’s how memory work. It works often by association, you hear a word, you see something, you smell something, and you taste something. You hear a track from 1984, and then suddenly, you are transported back to that time.

So that’s also something to keep in mind, and something we can use actively when we want to either remember stuff in the future or retrieve happy memories. Find those memory triggers that can bring hopefully a happy memory back to service.

Chloe B.:                In the book, you talk about ingredients for happy memories, are there certain ingredients that have to be there do you think?

Meik W.:               I think that there’s one that has to be there, and there are some that can be there and will help us. So I think the one that has to be there is very simply attention. So obviously, if we’re not paying attention to what is happening, we are not going to remember it. And I’ll give you an example of how that can work, a couple of weeks ago I spoke to a Polish woman who had read the book. And she thought back to a time when she was about eight, and she’s having dinner with her mom and her sister.

And they’re having this colorful Polish dish, and they have yellow flowers on the table. And they’re having a good time they’re laughing; they’re feeling happy. And her mother says I hope you remember this moment. And here we are 30 years later; she still remembers that moment because her mother made her pay attention to it. So it’s a really powerful tool, a powerful ingredient, of course, it can also be overused in that sense it’s like salt. Every day you sit down with your kids and say I hope you remember this moment; it’s going to be like, yes, shut up, dad, you say that every night.

But using it in the right dosage seems to be a really good strategy, but it’s also ingredients like first-time experiences. We are more likely to remember new and novel experiences; it’s using our different senses in our memories, not just seeing of stuff but also noticing how things taste, how things sound, how things smell. And that’s something Andy Warhol was really good at, so the pop artist. He would change the perfume he wore every three months.

So even though he would like to keep wearing it, he gave it up and found a new perfume. And that meant that over time, he had created this museum of scent, a Museum of memories. So he could go back in time, he’d say okay now I want to go back to 1982 the spring, and then he took that perfume he wore at that time and took a good whiff of that, and that would help him reminiscence about that period in his life.

Chloe B.:                It’s amazing, isn’t it how scent and memory can be really linked. We’ve all got a type of alcohol, for me, it’s tequila that will remind us of a horrible ex-boyfriend or terrible times in our lives, or the smell of grass reminds us of the summer holidays, and that is just a phenomenon that our minds can link that together.

Meik W.:               Exactly. And the more unique that scent and linked to memory is, the better. So I’ve had coffee many times, I’m having coffee right now, and that scent doesn’t necessarily trigger any particular memory, because it’s attached to so many different memories.

But if I smell dried seaweed, now that’s going to take me back to summer a year ago when I was sitting on a warm rock after being out spearfishing in a very cold sea and just sitting on that rock, feeling really happy, paying attention to the moment and saying what can I do to hold on to this moment? And there was a patch of dried seaweed, so I took a good way from that.

Chloe B.:                Amazing. I suppose it’s a thing to remember that so often we’re not present or aware in our lives, and how we might be really missing, I mean it’s kind of obvious to say that we’re missing out on our happiness and missing out on those happy memories because we’re not present a lot of time. So it’s another reminder for all of us to be more present, I think. Okay, so a bit of a contentious issue. Do dogs make people happier than cats? I read this, and I thought, oh, some people are going to be upset.

Meik W.:               So yes, I know these are divisive times. So listen, what we saw when we we’re looking through these happy memories and looking at the patterns, we did notice that far more people mention their dog than their cat.

And of course, different theories explain that it can mean that, okay, maybe more people have dogs than cats, and naturally, they are more likely to appear in people’s happy memories. The second theory is that dogs are just awesome creatures, and they do bring a lot of happiness, and I must confess that I slightly support that theory.

Chloe B.:                Maybe as well because your dog goes everywhere with you, you can’t just leave your dog at home and go to the beach, he’s going to be there with you, so maybe that’ll make a difference. But yes, I have to say dogs maybe do have more of an impact on people’s lives; people get more like obsessive about their dogs more than their cats. Can you explain what episodic, and I hope I’m saying that right memory is? What is that?

Episodic memory

Meik W.:               Yes. So we have different types of long-term memory, so you will remember, you will know what is the capital of France, okay, that’s Paris. But we don’t have any necessary recollection of when we actually acquired that fact. So it’s a fact about the world that we share with the world, but it doesn’t have any taste, it doesn’t have a sound, it doesn’t have any texture.

But if I said, can you remember your trip to Paris if you have been to Paris, now that’s a very different kind of memory. It will have sounds, it will have experience, it will perhaps have a taste, and you can travel back in time sort of re-experience your trip to Paris. So semantic knowledge is knowledge you have about the world, episodic memory is your experience in that world, and it’s unique for you.

Chloe B.:                Okay, so it’s a totally different type of memory. And we have to actually go and kind of relive the memory in order to experience that?

Meik W.:               I mean, it’s just something we can do, and we have this fascinating time-traveling opportunity. We can travel back in time, a few minutes ago I traveled back in time to summer before last, and sitting on a warm rock overlooking the cold ocean with a couple of flounders by my side. That’s an opportunity I can go back in time and re-experience some of the joy I had there. And that’s also what we see when people engage in a nostalgic activity, they often do that when they’re lonely or when they feel a little bit down, or when they sort of lack purpose in life.

So nostalgic activity means that we go back in time and revisit and variants where we felt a sense of connection with other people, perhaps a sense of meaning with it all. So it counteracts loneliness in that way. So it’s a super-nice ability to have to travel in time. It’s of course also something we use to travel forward in time, because a lot of our projections about the future, a lot of our hopes and dreams for the future are also based on what did we experience in the past. So in that sense, it’s a really neat DeLorean that can brings us back and forth in time.

Chloe B.:                It’s amazing how our minds can time travel. I was thinking about nostalgia the other day because I went home to visit my parents, and I was at home for maybe a week or so. And seeing all the people in the community where I grew up that I used to see all the time, the buildings, the woods that I used to play in, the tree that we used to climb at school.

And I guess this meeting wasn’t nostalgia, but it was almost like a slightly sad feeling it was kind of wistful, beautiful, and slightly sad. Is that nostalgia, or is that something else? That kind of slight sadness?

Meik W.:               I think that’s nostalgia.

Chloe B.:                Okay.

Meik W.:               I think it’s a sense of happiness, a sense of joy. A sense of happier times, but also the sadness of having lost that time that it’s past. So nostalgia it’s an ancient emotion; it’s longing for something that is gone. But I mean we did experience that, we did experience that love, we did experience that happiness. And it might be gone, but we should still be appreciative that it did happen in the first place, I think.

Chloe B.:                So would you encourage people to go down that nostalgia cruise?

Meik W.:               I think it’s a really fun experience. And one of the things I enjoyed researching this book was going down memory lane, either my own or actually asking my dad to take me down his memory lane. So he spent his youth in the town of Aarhus in Denmark, and this was the late 60s, and he worked in the advertising industry. And I asked him to show me Aarhus and show me the places he had lived and worked and gotten drunk. And we just spend a lovely afternoon going around Aarhus, seeing the places and that made those stories come alive.

It’s also a way to remember stuff because if you are at the place like you visited your childhood town. You see those places where you were, and that will trigger memories of those times. And that is something called the encoding specificity principle. But what it just is it’s what, like when the police they bring a witness to the scene of the crime, because it will help them remember what happened. So if you go down memory lane, go to places where you suspect you have had happy times, or there will be something that resurfaced because you will notice something that will trigger a happy memory.

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Chloe B.:                One thing I was interested in that you wrote about was about depression and happy memories. And how can people who experiencing depression kind of use this to help themselves, and if there are there challenges that come along with that?

Meik W.:               Right. I mean, we see that people who are struggling with depression, one of the challenges is, of course, that we’re not feeling very happy right now. But also actually having trouble remembering any time we were happy at all. So people with depression might struggle with remembering happy past events in their life. So there has been a few studies on this, one of them in the UK where the researchers first helped participants all struggling with depression remember 15 happy moments in their lives.

And that was actually quite difficult for some of the participants; they would say I don’t have 15 happy memories. But the researchers worked with the group and help them flesh out some of these happy memories making them more vivid and what happened and what did it sound like, what did it taste like, and so on. And then, they conducted an experiment where they tried to give them tools when they needed it most to remember those happy times, retrieve those happy experiences. And one of those methods is called the Loci method, and some of you might be familiar with that, it’s also called the memory palace.

And the principle is that you place what you need to remember, whether that’s happy memories or the grocery list for the supermarket on a familiar route. It could be your route from home to work, or it could also be specific places in your childhood home. A lot of people will remember their childhood home quite vividly and detailed, and then you place a happy memory along that route. Now, if it was me, my memory palace is also my childhood home, and one of the places on that route or in that home is the golden Volkswagen Beetle we had, and that would be outside the house.

So if I was to play something in there, it could be the happy memory of me sitting on that warm rock with the fish. So I would imagine myself in that car with fish and on a rock, and it smells because it’s inside a car and so on. And it’s a quite rich picture, and it’s weird there are fish in the car and so on. And now if I was to try and retrieve happy memories say two months from now, it’s easier for me to go through that route and then think of the Volkswagen Beetle, and then say okay yes that’s right, it was with the fish, and I was sitting on that rock, and I was feeling really happy.

Anyways, the study showed that people who used the Loci method had a far better likelihood of retrieving happy memories when they were later phone up by the researchers and asked to recall those 15 happy memories. So I think there is something we can do, I think there are tools in our memory that can be used in terms of helping people struggling with depression.

Chloe B.:                So you’re choosing a place, somewhere like your childhood home, and then in different places in that place, you’re putting the memories and kind of creating an image that associates with that,

Visualisation

Meik W.:               Yes. The visualization is really important, and trying to create, close your eyes and create an image and consider what would happen if you combine that room with that experience. It’s something that works quite well in different contexts.

Chloe B.:                What about food? Because I noticed that you wrote in your book about how we can almost use food to create happy memories or cool happy memories?

Meik W.:               Yes. So because every scent place a part in our memories, taste or scent is one of the ways we can use to trigger our memories. So one thing could be to create a memory dish, so if you had a happy memory, you can create a dish that should, of course, be called something that will make your mind trigger and remember that happy memory. And then when you have this dish, you’ll talk about that event and your reminiscence about that event, yes. So it’ll be something that is attached to a happy moment. It can also be to use food as gaining new experiences, so we can see that a lot of people experience the feeling that life seems to speed up as we get older.

And one of the reasons for that is that when we are 15 and 21, we have a lot of new experiences. So first kiss, and moving out the first apartment, the first car perhaps, whereas in people’s 30s and 40s and 50s there’s a more seldom and new experience. And a new experience doesn’t only have to be going to some exotic place across the globe; it can also just be a new experience in a food or a gastronomical sense. So trying out new ingredients could also be a way we can have more extraordinary days.

Chloe B.:                That’s something I think about a lot. About how we can try and make life slow down, because I don’t want life to get quicker the older I get. So try new things it doesn’t need to be going to a totally new country, it could be really simple things like I haven’t had Jerusalem artichokes before, I’m going to go with that.

Meik W.:               Exactly. And I was reflecting on this morning, because the conversation that I haven’t have in my partner is, and weren’t quite into food. But what are our five? What are our best dessert that we ever had?

Meik W.:               And in which one came in top?

Chloe B.:                So there was a tiramisu in Rome. And I remember at the time we shared one, and I still kick myself today like why did we not get one each. So yes, that’s something we can be doing, just to self-reflect on.

Meik W.:               And then today when you have tiramisu, are you then reminded of that experience overall?

Chloe B.:                I do think about it, and it’s usually not as good and the Rome one, so yes, but no, I do smile when I think about that. And a lot of things that you’re talking about resonate, because I’m a hypnotherapist, and when we’re getting the subconscious mind to take on board a message.

It’s really about using all the senses, and so if you want to imagine, I don’t know if someone what’s to come more confident or more calm using all their senses to imagine what that would be like to be really confident and calm. I think that’s what you talk about in your book, about how to really engage the senses so that we remember it more.

Meik W.:               Yes. And I think we have a tendency to focus too much on-site, and we take a lot of photos of things we experience. But I think especially if you’re keeping a journal, it’s also interesting to notice and write down what did he sound like, what did you feel like, what did it smell like? And I remember one of the happy memories we collected this from an American in his 50s.

Who spent six weeks on a beach together with his partner, and they’re at their bird-watching. And he’s just really good at describing the warmth of the Sun, the warmth of the sand, the roaring of the ocean and sort of all the different sensory impressions, and I think that’s definitely something we can learn from that.

Chloe B.:                Okay. So yes, tuning into all those details are going to make it more visceral, more likely to remember, and I don’t like to generate those good feelings again. I did want to ask you about digital detoxes, because I think this is probably something that a lot of people listening may potentially need to do, myself included. You mentioned this in your book about why that might be important, why do you think that’s important for people?

Meik W.:               I think it’s important because, coming back to what we talked about in the beginning, that the importance of attention. So if we’re not paying attention to something, we are less likely to remember it in the future. And we can also see a lot of the happy memories we collected where actually from evenings or weekends where people were without their phones. There was one I think this was a Mexican dad who remembered a blackout, and they had to bring out candles to get lighting in the room.

And they spent the evening as a family talking about some of their favorite memories, and some of their favorite family anecdotes, and now that’s a really nice memory of his. So I think it can undermine our attention that said it can also be a way to retrieve memories in the future. If we take a lot of photos and myself included a lot of us do that, it can also be something that can help us remember things in the future. But if people post on social media, I think perhaps it could be quite liberating for some to have a personal private social media account that only you can access.

So instead of worrying about how will this be perceived? What’s the right caption to write to this picture? Just post pictures of your every day. Because ten years from now, then you can go through that only you, and there’s going to be something in there that will help you remind you of your memories, so that’s something you can do.

Chloe B.:                So that would, but that be creating like an Instagram account that only you can see, and then you can back on I was like what a great idea, I like that.

Meik W.:               And I’ll give you another one. Hopefully, you’ll like that one too. Is to curate the happy teen or the happy hundred. So you had thousands of pictures on your phone, but perhaps we don’t look at them the same way we looked at family albums back in the 80s and 90s, where you print it out photos. So my suggestion in the book is once a year either for yourself or together with your family or partner or friends, curate the happy hundred or happy ten.

So go through your photos, and then talk about and decide which are actually our happiest moments in the past here. It might be the tiramisu in Rome; it might be other things. And get those photos printed out and put in an old-school photo album. And say okay, these are some of the happiest moments in 2019. It also I think is a good exercise to get insight into your loved ones and friends, what are their views on which were happiest times. And if you spend them together, we also remind you of hopefully some really lovely days.

Chloe B.:                I’m definitely going to do that. I’ve got loads of photos on my old laptop that the screen is broken, but I’m going to get the photos off and do that, that’s a lovely idea. Do you have any other; is there any other tip about the unhappiness that you think is really important for people to know?

Meik W.:               I think there’s a lot, but I think perhaps it is also important for me to underline as a happiness researcher that unhappiness is also part of life than the human experience is not just about happiness, it is also about loneliness and sadness, and that’s part of the human life. So I think what we’re trying to do with happiness Research Institute is not say you should be always happy all the time, I don’t think that’s possible. And there’s a reason why we might be unhappy from time to time.

What we should try and do is try to create the best possible conditions for people to flourish, and through policies, through our cities, through our workplaces, through how we organize our lives and social lives. Yes, but I mean, I don’t think we’re going to get to a place where we achieve being happy ever after. And I think that’s important to underline that we are, we experience positive and negative emotions, and that’s part of the package.

Chloe B.:                I think that’s a good reminder for everyone who maybe beats themselves up about not being happy, because it’s easy to go down that path of  I’ve ticked all these boxes in life, I should be happier, I shouldn’t be feeling this way. But actually to know that all emotions are normal, and we can’t be happy all the time, it’s impossible.

Meik W.:               Exactly. And also, I remember one psychologist said to me at one point, maybe our brain aren’t designed to be happy. We’re human beings, we have great design in terms of how to survive on this earth, but maybe we’re not designed to be happy all the time because it’s also what have brought us forward as a human race to sort of constantly challenge the status quo and constantly feel we need to raise the bar in order to be happy.

Chloe B.:                I heard someone say once, your brain is designed to keep you safe, not make you happy, which anxiety suffers as well definitely relate to. What about, I know it used to work in sustainability, and this might be a bit of a challenging question [Inaudible 00:37:36.27]. But as the world is changing our climate is changing, how do you see what we focus on in terms of happiness changing? Or do you think there will be more of a focus on that in a policy level and going forward?

Meik W.:               I think there’s going to be a bigger focus on mental health in the future. I think we are hopefully going to return to the original definition of health, that the World Health Organization said back in the 40s. And that is that health is not just the absence of disease, but it’s physical, mental, and social well-being. And I see trends towards that; I’m really encouraged now, for instance by New Zealand. Recently their government passed a well-being budget, and now bids for the budget has to come attached with as I understand it an assessment on how is this going to improve quality of life.

And we do see at the national level; the government’s looking at new measures of progress, challenging whether we should just focus on the GDP or perhaps also look at are we improving quality of life. And I think coming back to your question about sort of sustainability, I think there is a lot of overlap actually for those two agendas. I think if we design our cities, so they are more sustainable, they will also be more livable. I think if we design our way of consumption, our working life to something that is more sustainable both for the environment and for ourselves, that is also going to lead to an increase in quality of life. So I think that the two agendas are actually closer than we immediately think.

Chloe B.:                So what’s good for the planet is good for us.

Meik W.:               Basically, yes.

Chloe B.:                Amazing, thank you so much for sharing everything that you shared. Where can people find out more about you?

Meik W.:               Well, so there’s Thehappinessresearchinstitute.com website. Obviously, there are the books if people want to dive into their happy memories or some of my previous books, The Little Book of Lykke and The Little Book of Hygge. And now that the recent the art of making memories, and that should be available in online stores and offline.

Chloe B.:                Brilliant. And I definitely recommend people check that out; it’s really inspiring and really gets you thinking about what’s most important in life, so yes, thank you so much.

Meik W.:    Thank you.

Outro:                     Thank you so much for listening. I really hope that you gained a lot from this episode. Come on over to Instagram and let me know what are you taking from this episode, find me at Chloe Brotheridge. And I would love it if you would leave me a review in the podcast app or in iTunes; subscribe to the podcast leave me a rating.

And is there someone in your life that would really benefit from this podcast, you can let them know by sharing this podcast, I’ll be so grateful. So I’m just wishing you a wonderful week ahead, sending you loads of love.

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