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Using your culture to find your happiness. Hungarians aren’t known for their high happiness levels, in fact they rank #9 in the world suicide rate. Is there hope for happiness?

|JL| on Flickr

|JL| on Flickr

Finding Happiness In Your Cultural Values

There are too many reasons for people to find themselves depressed and in despair, but if you look there are also plenty of life changes that can be made to lift your happiness levels. While I’m not a professional, and not silly enough to try to tell you there is one quick fix for your emotional unhappiness and struggles, I can tell you a few things that are helpful and can make a huge difference for you.

Maybe you would like to know a little more about Hungarian culture, or maybe you want some tips on how to lift your mood; this is a collection of things that help me from my heritage, that I enjoy and want to share with you.


That certainly is a hard question to answer.

Despite the fact that perceptions of happiness are different for each individual, researchers have found some interesting findings on how human happiness levels work. What makes conclusions about those findings so hard to analyze is that there are a number theories based on data collected about the relative happiness of people. It is hard to reduce to just one theory or answer. But there are a couple primary ideas.

One idea that has been formulated is that people are happy relative to the perceived comparisons between themselves and others.

Another gauge of happiness is how much an individual enjoys life.

So much of what makes happiness a complex affair to understand involves the fact that there are a large number of ways to measure it. That can also make the definition very slippery to pin down. But the good news in an attempt to raise levels of happiness are two factors: one is that human beings are very adaptable to circumstances and adjusting their feelings about them, and the other is that there are common ways that people employ to become happier.

A Few Things Known To Affect Happiness

These factors affect happiness for the better.

  • A sense of control
  • A sense of meaning
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Experience of pleasure
  • Experiencing good health
  • Relationships with others
  • Having pets
  • Financial well being

Animal Lovers Are Happier

Hungarian horses

Source: Karpati Gabor

Hungarian horses

Vizsla, loyal, affectionate, and fearless is beloved by his owners

Source: Karpati Gabor

Vizsla, loyal, affectionate, and fearless is beloved by his owners


Magyar Heritage

Costume of Kalocsa region of Hungary

How happy are you?

Costume of Kalocsa region of Hungary Source: hajna OA Elit tagság

What Things Give Hungarians Happiness?


Hungarians love their pets.I’m sure you might find one that doesn’t, but overall, Hungarians love their animals. My uncle raised Puli’s and Komondor which are two sheep dog breeds (the Puli is a herding dog, and the Komondor is a guardian breed). Having a pet, especially a dog, helps people to feel happier and less depressed.

A young Puli, but where are his cords?

A young Puli, but where are his cords? Source: Karpati Gabor

Hungarians love music. In that, they fit right in with the rest of the world. When you listen to music that moves you emotionally, it releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain. The music and happiness relationship.

If you have a cultural heritage, chances are a certain kind of music moves your emotions, it might be certain instruments and their use in important events, or classical music. Perhaps it is music of your generation, and certain songs remind you of good times. I always think of good times of my teenage years when I hear the Beach Boys songs.

Hungarians love color. It is a known fact that colors affect us emotionally. The Hungarian people often love bright colors, just take a look at the traditional Kalocsai designs that are painted on every imaginable surface in the homes and embroidered fabrics.

I know that color impacts me, and there are times when walking into a room decorated in colors I love just helps to lift my mood. Almost as good as a sunny day!

Hungarians love good food and good company. Yes, I know we have to be careful here, because we don’t want to confuse eating for emotional reasons with the kind of lift that certain foods, and a healthy meal shared with loved ones, can provide. Still, looking at it from its best side, we all have what we call comfort food, and often that is linked with those foods and flavors we grew up with in our families.

For me, comfort food would include Chicken Paprikash, Stuffed Cabbage, and Poppy Seed or Nut Rolls. Mmmm, I feel better just thinking about those favorite Hungarian foods.

Foods that boost your feeling of well being and happiness are foods with plenty of nutrients. Vitamin D and B, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are good for your brain and your health.

Combining meals with the addition of good relationships, and meaningful times together is the reason why our happiness levels are improved with pleasant family meals and times with friends that center around sharing food together.

Just don’t ruin it by getting stressed about the inconsequential details.

What Makes Your Family’s Idea Of Good Times?

Consider the music, foods, and holidays of your own heritage. Take time to assemble as a family, whether it is for mealtimes or the Fourth of July. Take time to engage in healthy eating and exercise. Take control of your life and your finances.

There are many things that contribute to well being and happiness, I hope these tips from the point of view of my Hungarian background have inspired you to take a few of your own traditions and maximize the time and focus on what matters to you and your family. You might find that together you can raise the bar on happiness for all.

Egeszsegedre (cheers!)

The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian: 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood
The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian: 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood

About Happiness

How Many Hungarians Read This?

Hungarians have a long relationship with horses

Hungarians have a long relationship with horses Source: Public Domain

Have you tried this cream? Do you like it?

Pretty, Haunting Melody

What About Hungarians?

© 2013 Ilona