Denmark, a Scandinavian nation that endures long, cold, dark winters, has developed a concept that helps its people be among the happiest in the world anyway.
What Is Hygge?
Hygge (hue-guh) is a hard-to-pronounce (for English-speakers) word that doesn’t have a direct correlation to any word in our language. More of a concept than a single idea, hygge is about embracing the season and making the most of it.
Hygge is a mental attitude of embracing the spirit of winter, much like peoples’ spirits are raised during the Christmas season. It’s about making time to connect with others, remembering to be thankful, and creating coziness.
How to Embrace Hygge
Hygge has the potential to help Americans combat the winter blues (you can learn more about this in the article “The Effects of Sunshine on Stress.”)
Using a big dose of mindfulness, hygge is about the simple things in life.
- Taking time to light candles or start a fire in the fireplace to enjoy for the evening is hygge.
- Spending a moment to create a special cozy den of fluffy pillows and warm blankets on the couch for you and your loved one to watch TV in is hygge.
- Visiting your neighbor to check in on a cold, dark day is hygge.
- Making an effort to sit for 10 minutes to really enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea is hygge.
While there may certainly be other reasons for Danish happiness, the concept of embracing hygge in everyday life, rather than only for a few weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, can go a long way toward decreasing Americans’ stress and increasing joy.
Think about how you can experience and spread hygge today.