According to the World Happiness Report 2019, Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, and it’s got its eye on the number one spot for 2020. Many people believe that this ranking can be attributed to Hygge, which is known as the Danish secret to happy living. But what does Hygge mean exactly?
Hygge, pronounced hue-gah, is a Danish concept that cannot actually be translated to one single word. It is a word used when you acknowledge a feeling or a moment as warm and special, whether you’re alone or with friends, at home or outside, ordinary or extraordinary. In simple words, it is a feeling of contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.
People say that hygge is all about candles, warm blankets, tea, comfortable pants (hyggebukser), reading nooks (hyggekrog), woolen socks (hyggesokker) and curling up by the fire during winter. While that description is correct, hygge is not about isolation. Another definition of hygge is “an art of creating intimacy,” be it with yourself, friends, family, and your home. Picture this: you’re cooking with your best friends, your favorite song is playing, and you enjoy each other companies. That’s also hygge. Whether it’s brewing tea with your little china, stopping at the flower shop every week, playing board games with your favorite people, baking your favorite cake, to lighting a candle with every meal, hygge is all about being aware of a moment. Therefore, creating a hygge life is very simple. While winter is the season for all things hygge, Danes practice the concept all year round, and you are welcome to do the same.
The concept is not widely popular for nothing. There are a variety of benefits tied to practicing hygge. Denmark has some of the happiest people on the planet is proof of how effective hygge is. Feeling significantly happier could certainly be a perk of practicing hygge, but there are other benefits as well.
- Physical benefits. A hygge lifestyle gives you an atmosphere of comfort, calmness, and safety. The lifestyle allows your mind to feel relaxed. When you feel calm, safe, and relaxed, your body will respond positively. So you will have less stress hormone spikes and improved sleep. It also reduces the need for unhealthy behaviors such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
- Emotional benefits. When you practice hygge, you will create a cozy living space to help you feel less anxious and stimulate a sense of emotional well-being and security. The feeling of security and comfort allows you to let down your guard so that you are more pleasant and open. The sense of calm that hygge brings can increase your feelings of self-worth and optimism, lower stress, improve your compassion, promote a greater sense of mindfulness, and increase your gratitude.
- Social benefits. You are more likely to build and nurture connections in a hygge-focused lifestyle because you feel emotionally safe. Spending time and connecting with the people you love make you feel confident, safe to take risks, and more open to practice vulnerability. A hygge-style living space lets you focus on togetherness, increase intimacy, improve your relationships, and increase trust.