How to Boost Your Happiness this Year with Hygge, the Danish Way

It’s no secret that Denmark is known as one of the happiest country in the world. But what makes the country rank high in terms of the citizens’ happiness and contentment? The Danish people have long practiced the act of hygge (“hoo-ga”) – a way of getting extremely cozy and enjoying the simple things in life.

Depending on where you live, you may remember enjoying reading a book indoors on a rainy Sunday or a cup of hot chocolate on a snow day, you’ve experienced hygge without even knowing it. It’s an extreme form of “coziness” you’ve never experienced before. First, let’s start with what isn’t hygge: staring at your phone. Television is okay – but bring your friends over and watch a good movie. Togetherness is part of hygge.

Now that we got this out of the picture, here’s what is considered hygge:

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1. Candles.

If you ask a Danish person, they’re likely to tell you that candles are the most important part of creating a hygge. In fact, Danes burn a whopping 13 pounds of candle wax a year per capita—more than any other country in the world. Candles provide natural light, it makes us feel better than an electric light. In Danish they are called levende lys which means living light.

2. Fireplaces.

What could be cozier than cuddling up to a nearby fire for a warm night in? Truthfully, most of us don’t have a fireplace at home. What you could try is getting a heating blanket to keep you warm and toasted.

3. Throw blankets.

Whether it’s a comforter, chunky knit, weighted blanket, or heated throw, having something soft to wrap around yourself is a must. As are oversized sweaters and thick socks (really, anything knitted and soft), which also make things way more hygge.

4. Homemade sweets, comfort food, and hot drinks.

I know what you’re thinking – you probably don’t want to break your resolutions of eating “healthy.” But sometimes, we may need to indulge ourselves with our favorite snack, drink and comfort food. It’s important to eat healthy, but you don’t want to deprive yourself from foods that you enjoy. It’s about moderation, and you want to keep a balance of eating the essentials, but also reward yourself with treats.

In Denmark that might mean pastries, meatballs, and copious amounts of coffee, but in America you might want to pour yourself a warm drink, dig up your grandma’s chicken pot pie recipe, or spend a weekend afternoon baking your favorite cupcakes or brownies. While winter is the obvious time for all things hygge, Danes practice this concept year round.

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