When it comes to life satisfaction, the Danes are clearly onto something. In 2016’s World Happiness Report, Denmark beat 155 other countries to be crowned the happiest country in the world – for the third time. (Australia came in at number nine – not bad!)
One factor thought to boost our European friends’ contentment? Their love of ‘hygge’. Translation and pronunciation varies (try ‘hooga’) but, in essence, hygge describes a sense of cosiness, warmth and togetherness. That ease and comfort when you snuggle up with your favourite people, or read a book for hours in your chunkiest knit with cake and mug of tea.
“Hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘cosiness of the soul’ and the ‘absence of annoyance’ to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’, ‘cosy togetherness’ and, my personal favourite, ‘cocoa by candlelight’,” says Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience… It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home.”
Sounds pretty great to us! Get ready to start living the hygge way.
When it comes to creating a hygge atmosphere, the lower the lighting the better. Think candles, candles and more candles! Also go for a few smaller lamps around the room where you can, rather than one main ceiling light.
Above all, that ‘cosy togetherness’ comes down to surrounding yourself with the people you love. Start a new tradition, suggests Meik, whether it’s a Sunday lunch or monthly board game night.
Yep, you know what we’re about to say, don’t you? Phones off! Hygge is all about gratitude, calm and being in the moment.
Food, glorious food
Time to treat yourself. Eating the hygge way means indulging in simple, delicious comfort food: candy and cakes (try this chocolate buttercream recipe), a slow-cooked stew, coffee with one of those buttery pastries from the shop over the road. Yum – we’ll have a Danish, please. Happy hygge!
Click here for more hygge-inspired buys.