Hygge – the Danish Art of Happiness


Leave it to the Danes, to sum up how we feel about a cup of tea, lunch with a friend, or a plush blanket. Social media and wellness advocates are all about hygge, the trending buzzword that’s inspiring homebodies everywhere.  I have to admit the first time I saw the phrase associated with a room full of candles, and cocoa with marshmallows, I was intrigued.

It sounds like a “hug” right?  Well sort of.  Pronounced (hoo-ga), this form of self-care defines all things cozy and meaningful, whether that means You time, or gathering with loved ones. Last year The World Happiness Report named Denmark the happiest country in the world based on the quality of living, overall health, and promoting a healthy economy. Hygge is at it’s comforting best during the winter, but our Danish neighbors have made the art of living in the moment a year-round tradition.

What does hygge mean to you? If I had to define how this concept applies to my life I’d say coming home each day to a dog who’s overjoyed to see me, or a sunny northwest day is all I need to feel content. 55+ retirement communities seem to have the savoring the finer things figured out from the many social activities to the amenities that encourage self-care. Think of hygge as your new prescription, trying to incorporate a moment of bliss each day whether it’s a bike ride, reading a book, or holding hands with the one you love. There’s something to be said about a culture who’s been practicing this idea for eons sharing their spirit of happiness with the rest of the world.

Let’s turn hygge from a trend to a way of life. Stopping to pause shouldn’t be a luxury but an important ingredient for everyday happiness. Rather than saying to ourselves, we’ll be happy when we make this purchase, or when we reach a certain goal, why not find that moment in the present?

Here’s to creating your own sanctuary, pausing to reflect, and being an inspiration to those around you. As Mark Twain said, “Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life.”  

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