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Hygge: The Danish Secret to Happiness?

Writing Nag is a pseudonym of blogger Patricia Biro. She writes about home and garden, finance, creative writing, and vintage collectibles.


What Is Hygge?

A rough translation of hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") is being comfortable and contented. You might think of hygge as being warm and cozy, but it is so much more. If you live in a part of the country that experiences long, cold, dark winters, you might be yearning for this without even knowing it. Or perhaps you have already found your own ways to bring hygge into your life.

Hygge can be sharing a quiet meal in front of the fireplace, eating dinner by candlelight, spending the day with family and friends, playing a board game with your children, or cocooning in a comforting, sheltered space with lots of books and good food.

For people that experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), hygge can be the important moments of connection that bring light into a long dark day. In the last two years of the pandemic, hygge is self-care. My favorite book to share with others that might need hygge in their life is The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.


Why Hygge Is So Important

According to the World Happiness Report which is released by the United Nations, the Danish people are the happiest people on earth. The other Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands) also rate at the top of the list. Is the culture of hygge responsible for this? We do know that residents of Denmark appreciate and embrace the simple pleasures of life. This quest for hygge is a big part of their culture.

According to a 2015 Healthday article, money or lack of money is still the largest stressor for Americans. But adding hygge into your life doesn't have to cost very much. All you need is time and a commitment to embracing the change. After a very stressful year, Americans seem to be embracing the word and marketers, advertisers, and publishers are on board. A recent review of Amazon found more than 20 books on the subject of "how to hygge."

Do you create a sense of well-being for yourself, your family, and your friends? Do you plan events where comfort, family, and friends come first? Do you value the little things in life? Are you grateful for simple moments of pleasure?

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Ways to bring hygge into your life

  • Enjoy the beauty of the moment without documenting every moment on social media.
  • Turn off all of the electronic devices and connect with others.
  • Think candlelight, hand-knitted garments, cozy blankets, good conversation, and quiet times.
  • Embrace friendships and family relationships.
  • Bake cookies or cook a meal together.
  • Create and share good comforting food without the worry of dieting.
  • Enjoy homemade baked goods for breakfast or any time of day. Apple fritters, cinnamon buns, and cakes are very hygge.
  • Watch a movie together.
  • Read a book, play board games together, watch the snow fall.
  • Express gratitude for all that you have.
  • Cherish dinner with friends.
  • Celebrate experiences over possessions.
  • Regular self-care.
  • Hold and appreciate a delicious warm beverage on a cold day; coffee, hot chocolate, Glögg, spiced apple cider.

Hygge Gifts Ways to Bring Hygge to Others

For hygge gifts think comfort, cozy, and self-care.

  • Candles
  • Woolen socks, my favorite with traditional Swedish designs
  • Self-care kits, natural ingredients, and light fragrance
  • Beautiful hardcover art books
  • Puzzles, board games, and
  • Chunky yarn throws and pillows
  • Soft sweater
  • Gift of time to bake cinnamon rolls together

More Information About Hygge

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Patricia Biro

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