Does your fire hold the key to eternal happiness? Reece Toscani tells you how:
There is something about watching a fire that heals the soul. The gentle crackling noises, the warming orange hue emanating from the entrancing flames seem to have a way of beckoning every sense, commanding complete focus. Turn the TV off, sit in silence and enjoy your fire, for it appears it is very good for your health.
Yet for the full effects to be enjoyed, you need to make sure you’ve got some key elements in place first. Ideally you need a fireplace or stove – a house fire doesn’t apply in this situation, and the Netflix on-screen fireplace doesn’t quite cut the mustard. So set aside some free time, put down your mobile phone, ignore those work emails and empty your mind of any worries. Once you’ve done this, you’re half way there.
Science says that the Danish are the happiest people in the world. To us Brits, the thought of living in perpetual winter, with temperatures nearly always close to freezing and a limited number of daylight hours, sounds like Hell. So how can the Danish be so happy?
In Denmark they have a word called Hygge, which roughly translates to ‘cosiness’ and is pronounced ‘hoo-ga’. It’s not the latest interior design buzzword, it is a lifestyle which falls somewhere between what everyone on Instagram want’s everyone else on Instagram to think their winter is like and the perfect Christmas scene. Imagine pumpkin-vanilla lattes, candlelight, blankets, cinnamon pastries, woolly jumpers and a fire crackling away in the fireplace. I recommend giving this a go yourself – read this article for some more information.
So now we know that the general ambiance of a fireplace adds to the cosiness of your room and helps to make you happy, but there does appear to be some tangible health benefits too.
Last year, the University of Alabama discovered that gazing at a fire lowers blood pressure. Their study found that participants’ blood pressure reduced by 5%, and continued to decrease the longer they stared at the fire. Scientists believe that this reaction dates back to the prehistoric days when fire signified social cohesion, safety and warmth, this evolutionary trait associated with fire shows that it has always appealed to all senses. Fire also reduces anxiety and focuses the mind.
Combine these points with the relaxation and peace of mind that comes with knowing your energy bills will not be as high and your environmental impact is reduced thanks to your stove, you’ll be well on your way to eternal happiness. Eat your heart out, Buddha.