In the last decade, Denmark has ranked consistently among the world’s happiest nations. In the 2018 World Happiness Report released by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Denmark came in third place, with Nordic neighbors Finland and Norway taking first and second place, respectively.
So why are these countries so happy? It might just have something to do with hygge, a Scandinavian word that originated in the 19th century and denotes a feeling of coziness. The good news is that you don’t need to live in Scandinavia to benefit from this way of living and it doesn’t take money to attain. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what hygge is, see why it might be the secret to Denmark’s happiness, and show you how it can work for you.
What is hygge?
The word hygge comes from the Old Norse term hygga, meaning “to comfort.” Although the term is well-known throughout Scandinavia, this concept is particularly important to Denmark, where it’s a central tenet of the country’s identity. Danes employ this term as both a noun and adjective, and it can be used to describe the feeling itself as well as cozy activities and a state of mind.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of hygge is “coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” That could mean lighting candles and playing cards with friends, cozying up with a book and a hot cup of tea or wearing slippers while baking a cake with your significant other. The important thing is to make yourself comfortable while enjoying the simple things in life that make you happy.
Want to try the hygge lifestyle?
If you want to learn how to hygge, we’ll show you that it’s a whole lot easier than you may think. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, so if you live in a hot climate where wearing a wool sweater and relaxing next to a fireplace isn’t really an option, don’t fret. Hygge can mean different things to different people.
Think about what makes you feel comfortable. Is it drinking loose-leaf tea served in dainty cups? Or is it lighting some candles, taking a hot bath and reading a book? Practicing hygge can mean doing the things that make you feel a sense of comfort and cozy secureness. But try to avoid using your smartphone — part of the philosophy is going back to basics and taking time to enjoy the simple things in life while disconnecting from the stresses of modern life.
The art of a healthy hygge home
Nature is an essential aspect of hygge. An appreciation of simple pleasures like the smell in the air after a rain shower, the sound of a thunderstorm and the beauty of a starry night all qualify as hygge activities. Of course, staying indoors and watching the snowfall from your window also counts, as does curling up on your sofa with your favorite book. Whether at home or outside, you can incorporate a hygge mindset with you anywhere you go.
Practicing hygge can be seen as a form of self-care. Taking on this lifestyle approach means, you may start cooking more at home, spending less money on unnecessary things and getting healthier. Activities, such as riding bikes and going on long walks with friends, are considered very hygge.
To up your hygge decor game, take some aspects of the outdoors inside your home whether with flowers and colorful leaves or art inspired by the great outdoors. Try out soothing earth tone colors like brown or tan combined with calming shades of blue and green. It’s amazing what a difference a bit of paint can make for both your living space and your mood.
Simplicity is a cornerstone of the hygge lifestyle, so there’s no need to go over the top with complicated designs or decorations. Just keep things simple and go for comfort rather than clutter and you’ll be on the right track. Remember, there’s more than one way to hygge — do what makes you feel good.
Hygge recipes we love!
Who doesn’t love comfort food, especially preparing it together with a group of your family or closest friends? Here are some of our favorite hygge recipes from the 8fit app that could be perfect for your next gathering.
Peanut butter biscuits
Nothing comforts quite like the flavor of peanut butter, especially when it’s in baked goods. These peanut butter cookies only need around 15 minutes to bake, and the preparation is easy. Using bananas, oats, honey and peanut butter as the base of the batter, you’re in for a delicious treat with these cookies.
When selecting your peanut butter make sure to check the ingredient label and choose one without added sugar or hydrogenated oils.
Tahini chocolate bites
Making these tahini chocolate bites is a fun way to get your hygge on with a group of friends because it’s hands-on and perfect for sharing. Just mix the ingredients in a bowl and roll them into balls to refrigerate and enjoy later while playing a board game or watching a movie.
Turmeric latte with pistachios
Whether you’re alone or in a group setting, this turmeric latte warms the body and soul, delivering a good dose of hygge. You’ll only need three ingredients to make this one, so why not give it a go next time you’re feeling like snuggling up indoors?
Hyped about hygge?
Now that we’ve shed some light on what hygge is, maybe you can add a sprinkle of it to your own life. You’ll find the detailed recipes for the above treats in the 8fit Pro app, as well as over 700 dishes and snacks that will nourish your body and spoil your taste buds. Keep it simple, keep it hygge and keep it healthy with 8fit!