Sunday Firesides: Contentment Via Distinction
A query that has been oft contemplated and mentioned, is why it’s that Scandinavian international locations routinely report among the highest happiness ranges on the earth, and particularly, how these peoples handle to endure a very lengthy, darkish, and chilly winter whereas remaining comparatively cheerful.
Some say it’s due to the recognition of saunas in these international locations. Others theorize it has to do with their embrace of “hygge” — or cultivated coziness.
But the resilience of Scandinavians is arguably not premised on these pleasurable practices themselves . . . however fairly in the way in which they’re typically juxtaposed with “more durable” components: leaping into an icy lake earlier than getting into a sauna; sitting by the fireside after a day spent snowshoeing.
Life loses its savor when one consumes a gradual, flat-lined weight loss plan of sameness. Distinction — which works in two instructions — is vital.
Effortful issues are extra doable, and even fulfilling, when punctuated with repose.
Strolling feels extra satisfying after a stretch of being sedentary; parenting youngsters is extra readily relished while you’re not round them 24/7; it’s not solely extra pleasurable to sit down in a sauna after leaping into chilly water, however simpler to leap into chilly water after sitting in a sauna.
Conversely, the peaks of delight are increased once they kind a reduction in opposition to troughs of sterner stuff, and in our world of consolation and comfort, it’s the feel of the latter which our lives usually lack. Heightening our happiness thus requires cultivating “voluntary hardship” — purposefully peppering our lives with “bitterness,” to intensify the candy.
Meals tastes higher after fasting from it. Mendacity right down to sleep feels extra gratifying after a day spent standing up. Leisure solely gives its fullest refreshment when interspersed with labor.
Starvation is one of the best spice.
Absence makes the center develop fonder.
Contentment comes by distinction.