A Global Dictionary of Happiness

A Global Dictionary of Happiness

via Tim Chester

How different is the aloha spirit from joie de vivre? This global primer will help you find joy in any language.

Happiness. Contentment. Joy. We all know what it means, and how it feels—not to mention how it doesn’t (hi, 2020!). But how to achieve it? That’s bothered philosophers from Aristotle to Oprah.

There are dozens of ways to find happiness globally. It could be as simple as doing nothing in Italy, or finding beauty in the passing of time in Japan, or just drinking in your underwear in Finland.

This global primer will help you find joy in 15 different ways—all different cultural pursuits of happiness. 

Aloha (Hawaii)

Translation: Love, affection

How the Hawaiians do it: Hawaii regularly tops lists of the happiest states in the U.S.—and much of that can be attributed to the spirit of aloha, or “being in the presence of and sharing the essence of life,” as Go Hawaii defines it.

“While I wouldn’t say that aloha translates directly as ‘happiness’ in Hawaiian, I would say that both words are layered and tangentially related in their interpretations,” says Charity Yoro, a poet who grew up on Oahu. “Aloha is both a greeting and a farewell, an expression of love for a person/people, as well as for the land (aloha‘āina). And the origin of aloha—ha being breath, life—calls to mind the Buddhist perception of happiness as equanimity. Happiness as temporal and enduring as breath.”

How to practice it yourself: As Go Hawaii puts it: “The spirt of aloha teaches us lessons of peace, kindness, compassion, and responsibility to future generations.”

Azart (Russia)

Translation: Taking chances; ardor

How the Russians do it: Helen Russell, who wrote one of the books on happiness, The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to Be Happytold AFAR that azart means a “burning urge to lunge at everything life throws your way, to take chances, no matter the consequences. . . . There’s also a hint of suffering involved, the idea that you will suffer for your pleasure.” We’re talking sweating in humid bathhouses or engaging in intense vodka-fueled conversations.

How to practice it yourself: As Russell explains, you’re looking for a combination of excitement, risk-taking, and suffering. “It’s not a comfy, cozy kind of feeling. [It’s] more like you feel really alive.” One tip: Do like the Russians and avoid small talk in favor of posidelki, or “kitchen talks,” more meaningful conversations. Try that with an argumentative uncle at Thanksgiving if you really want to feel alive.

Russian contentment is also related to community spirit. Its word for happiness—schastye—is etymologically different from the Western notion. As one translator notes: “In English, ‘happiness’ originates from the Old Norse happ or ‘good luck.’ This implies that a happy person is someone who has had a good fortune. In Russian, schastye stems from the noun chast’, ‘a part.’ Thus, in Russian, to be happy means to be part of something [bigger].”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE