Happiness Practices Around the World

We all want to be happy and healthy, and though the road we take to get there can be different depending on which part of the world we live, the end result is the same:  Feelings of peace and security steeped in wellness. All around the globe happiness and wellness practices are ever-present, from meditation to music therapy, to exercising, and creative art every culture has an expression of happiness and a preferred method to get there.

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JAPAN – SHINRIN-YOKU, also known as forest bathing is quite beautiful in its simplicity: walk through nature, relaxed and in the moment.  Breathe deeply and revitalize your energy.  TIBET – SINGING BOWLS is an ancient practice for healing and meditation.  The vibrations, created by pressing the edge of the bowls with a mallet in a circular motion is believed to reduce tension, elevate mood and provide deep feelings of content and wellness. EGYPT, MOROCCO and TURKEY – HAMMAM is the practice of cleansing the mind, body and soul through both dry and steamed baths.  It is a ritualistic exercise done in a boathouse and is believed to produce feelings of relaxation and well-being. STEPS TO HAMMAM. A dry hot room to help relax and acclimate to heat. A bath to cleanse A room for rest, relaxation and to drink tea. An optional massage to complete the experience.

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NORWAY – FRILUFTSLIV, translated to English as ‘outdoor living or open-air living’ is the deeply rooted Nordic concept of connecting and unwinding fully with the outdoors.  It can be walking through the forest after an outdoor meal or having an outdoor sauna with friends.  However you do it, you bring your indoor life outside.

SWEDEN – FIKA is slowing down the day to enjoy a long and luxurious coffee break with decadent desserts and pastries to go with your coffee or tea.  Viewed by the Swedes as pleasurable right, most workplaces have Fika breaks throughout the day.  The downtime is enjoyed by everyone and it is expected that everyone takes a Fika break to re-energize and restore a sense of well-being which in turn makes for a better workplace environment.

CHINA, EGYPT and VIETNAM – CUPPING is the use of small cups or bamboo jars places on the body, normally the back and neck to create suction to provide deep feelings of relaxation and relief from tension.  It is believed that stagnation causes pain and tension and cupping is a method to reduce it.

INDIA – LAUGHTER YOGA, an enjoyable wellness pastime is the practice of light yoga stretches and flexibility exercises while laughing out loud.  Available in laughter clubs across the country, laughter yoga is a path to friendship, bonding, and relaxation.
The desire for happiness is global and universal and woven through every culture through a variety of ritualistic and everyday practices that bring a sense of peace, connection, and well being.

What makes you happy?  How do you get to your happy place?

Information adapted from:  Sage Magazine.  Loblaws.  Fall 2018 Edition.

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