Updated: Feb 3
Which country has the most chill and happy population in the world? How do they do it and what is their secret?..
Exploring different cultures is a fascinating subject where valuable lessons could be taught. Of all the countries in the world, Denmark has been consistently showing a happy society who has mastered reducing anxiety at home!
Their happiness and healthy and balanced lifestyles are attributed to their Hygge philosophy (pronounced HOO-guh)! Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, declares that Hygge is so ingrained in their culture that it is part of their national identity.
Developed ultimately to fight the grey and rainy winters, Hygge is the art of coziness and of transforming your home into a safe haven where you are truly yourself, comfortable, and totally content! However, it could be applied to any season and reducing anxiety at home is essential. In times when we spend a lot more hours at home with COVID-19 and the reduction in social activities, what can we learn from Denmark and integrate more Hygge into our lives?
Home is where we should be truly authentic and relaxed. Everyone at home should act as a unity where each one of us plays a part in keeping harmony. Hygge promotes fairness and equality. Share chores so that one person is not solely burdened by keeping the household running. Sharing books and magazines leads to a sense of closeness and gives a chance to engage in conversations and healthy debates. In the era when we sometimes have too much togetherness at home, it is sometimes difficult to keep healthy relationships and boundaries. What can be changed to adjust and keep the household harmonious?
Hygge is all about traditions. Would creating new traditions in the home create some Hygge atmosphere and a sense of somewhat regained normalcy that everybody craves for the time being?
Staying positive is also a major part of Hygge. Similar to mindfulness, Hygge promotes slowing down, breathing, and thinking of what we are grateful for. A healthy morning routine is very “Hyggish”, starting with writing down 5 things or people we might be grateful for, followed by a healthy nutritious breakfast with proteins, grains, and fruits.
A healthy evening routine is equally important. Is your bedroom conducive to good sleep? Do you have time at night to unwind and slow your body and brain down?
Hygge is all about self-care and doing the things that will boost our production of oxytocin, the calming hormone, which in turn will decrease our stress hormone, cortisol. What makes us happy at home? Having freshly planted flowers in our garden? A new kitchen appliance so we can experiment with new recipes? A more comfortable chair and couch where we can congregate as a family and start a conversation?
Even though Hygge can be also achieved alone, the essence of Hygge is about togetherness and relationships. Many studies have shown that the quality of relationships is highly correlated with the sense of happiness and fulfillment. If we are more isolated from our loved ones, keeping up with families and friends via Zoom or Facetime and scheduling Hygge happy hours would be essential.
But Hygge is not just for the home, it also suggests exploring the outdoors with good friends such as a new trail, or a new bike path. Everyone is different and it is important to explore…
What is your Hygge? In the coming months, invite more Hygge into your life and boost your oxytocin to feel more rejuvenated and happier.