Hygge: The Danish Recipe for Happiness

In 2016, Denmark was ranked as the happiest country in the world!
Their secret? Hygge!

Hygge, pronounced ‘Hoo-ga’ can be roughly translated to “Hominess,” or “Cosiness.” It’s like a hug without touching. It’s socialising for introverts.

In Denmark, winters are long and unforgiving. Hygge was developed to ensure Danish well-being throughout the tough winter months. It’s a way of paying attention to the atmosphere of a place. Of kicking back by a fireplace with a steaming cup of tea. Soft blankets. Your favourite music. Anything that makes you feel safe in what seems like a hostile (and freezing!) external environment. Revelling in the moment and your own feelings of comfort works magic on your brain, releasing those important happy chemicals. Voila!

So how do you “Hygge?”

  • Light
    Hygge is all about the ‘vibe’ of the place and enjoying the ‘vibe’ you create! So, lighting must be as natural as possible. Warm, soft lighting encourages relaxation. Candles are very “Hygge”. Did you know that almost half of Danes light candles during autumn and winter?
  • Family traditions
    Hygge is about connection, to yourself and to others. Starting family traditions, eating meals together and quietly sitting together and enjoying one another’s company is all very “Hygge”.
  • Hygge Food
    Cakes, pasties, hot chocolate and anything absolutely guilty is Hygge. Yum!
  • Dress code
    Hygge dress code is comfy. Wearing soft pajamas, scarves and fluffy socks are all encouraged.
  • Hygge Décor
    Wood and natural furnishings are very Hygge as they create an atmosphere that is soothing to the mind. Lots of blankets and cushions are a must!

Make your own Hygge emergency kit:

Put all these goodies in a box for when you’re feeling stressed or need a pick-me-up this winter.
  • A scented candle
  • Your favourite chocolate
  • Some interesting teas. My favourite is a Cranberry and Passionfruit blend!
  • Your most treasured books / films
  • Socks!
  • A collection of letters and photos that spark up happy memories
  • A notebook and pen for journaling
  • And have your favourite music playlists ready!

Remember that the key to “Hygge” is presence. Even if it’s not cold, or you’re not snug-as-a-bug and tucked away inside; you can use the elements of Hygge in your wellness regime. Incorporate Hygge into your lifestyle by appreciating nature, enjoying genuine connections and by revelling in the many small and simple pleasures life has to offer.

Happy Hygge-ing!

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