• Nov 05, 2018
  • Anna Teodorczyk

Are you tired of a constant rush to complete never-ending tasks? Have you heard about hygge? Check how it helps the Danes to cope with stress and to be the happiest people in the world.

In our modern lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed from pressures at work, meeting all the deadline and trying to be perfect all the time. The Danes must have known how to enjoy life as they regularly ranked among the world’s happiest people. Their usual answer when asked how they do this is “do you hygge”? For them, hygge is an antidote to everyday stresses. It’s been part of the Danish way of life for hundreds of years.

There is no direct translation of this word to other languages. As the ambassador of Denmark to Thailand, Uffe Wolffhechel explained:

“Hygge is about finding a little space of time where you just appreciate the people around you, away from the hurries and worries of everyday life” (see: https://scandasia.com/introducing-danish-hygge-in-bangkok/).

The “hygge approach” focuses on the importance of being fully present, connected and content, and involves relaxing with good friends and/or loved ones. Hygge means getting cozy, taking time out, creating a warm, sociable atmosphere that is comfortable and distressed.

Mr. Andrew Tan, the owner of atomi in Singapore, the multi-brand store with Scandinavian furniture said while asked: “Hygge is about creating a sanctuary, a shelter, both physically and psychologically, for oneself and everyone around us” (see: https://www.8days.sg/liveandlearn/style/do-you-hygge-why-singaporeans-need-to-get-cosy-happy-like-the-7308100).

Here are 10 things the Danes do to bring a little more happiness into their lives — and that you can too…

1. Value what you have.

Danes do not expect to be happier by buying new things, a bigger house or the latest iPhone. They appreciate what they have: the small things and first of all the people around. What Mr. Uffe Wolffhechel tried to stress is that hygge is not a matter of material wealth, it is more of a mind frame.

2. Spend your time with family.

No matter how busy you are, always try to spend your time with family. Talk about the big and the small things in life. It is a great way to connect with all family members. Cook with your parents and children, bake cookies, make it a fun time. Eat together at least once a day. Play board games together. When you’re sitting around the table eating or playing Scrabble or Monopoly, you’re engaged in the moment, you share an experience with others. You are connected, loved and welcome.

3. Invite friends for a meal or go out to a quiet place.

Invite your friends. Even better, get everyone to join in and cook together: there’s nothing more hygge than sharing an experience. And relax. Do not try to impress your friends with sophisticated dishes, make it casual with dimmed lighting and easy-going fun. If you go out try to find a cozy, quiet restaurant when you can freely talk. Hide your mobiles and let the conversation wander. Picnics in the park, barbeques with friends, outdoor concerts, street festivals, and bike rides can all be very hygge. 

4. Have a break with a cup of delicious tea or coffee. Read a book.

Being able to have time for yourselves is as important as spending time with other people. You do not need to drink hot chocolate or glögg (mulled wine), as the Danes do. Delicious tea or coffee will be perfect in Singaporean weather. Make this moment special by preparing your favorite drink in a beautiful cup or mug. The key point is to sit and relax. Celebrate this only-for you moment of solitude and feel comfortable. Read a book, listen to your favorite music, leave all worries behind – don’t think about what’s to come or what has happened, just be in the now. 

5. Be kind to yourself 

Hygge is also about taking a step back from the responsibilities and discipline of our life and allowing ourselves a little indulgence. You can’t all the time keep on working harder and harder. Have a moment of joy that comes from little pleasures – a bar of our favorite chocolate, an afternoon on the sofa watching a movie, a chilled glass of wine on a summer’s evening. Hygge is about having a nice time. When you take the time to look after yourself, you’ll feel more equipped to handle life’s challenges when they do come along.

6. Exercise

It can be a morning walk, jogging, a bike ride, swimming, etc. Anything you like what will help you to release the pressure. Do it alone, with your loved one or with friends, as you like.

7. Bring nature to your life

Instead of shopping or watching TV go for a walk in the park, forest or on a beach. Sit on a bench in a beautiful park on a summer day and appreciate nature and the accompanying quietness. Be in the present moment, engage all your senses: see, smell and hear what is around. Bring some plants to your place. Have fresh flowers at your place.

8. Light the candles.

Candles add warmth and a coziness to your home. The Danes buy more candles than any other country. For them, candles are key components in creating a warm, inviting, and hygge atmosphere. They use them all the year.

9. Limit the use of electronics.

Anything that we mentioned above will not work if you do not reduce the use of electronic devices. Be in the present, not glued to what’s happening on in the internet. Electronic devices are not banned from hygge but it means that you need to put them aside for an hour or two and be together with others. Present and engaged in 100% percent.

10. Make your home hygge

Re-arrange all your place or create just a cozy and relaxed corner in your house. A hygge home isn’t just about how things look like. You need to have a feeling of coziness and comfort. Soften up your surroundings. Choose blankets, throws and fabric cushions. To know exactly what the essential elements are to create hygge in your home check https://www.homeanddecor.com.sg/articles/89837-hygge-your-home-formula-behind-danish-concept-cosiness.

And one more thing - hygge is free, or at least very cheap. As Meik Wiking points out in his book The Little Book of Hygge, “Hygge is about enjoying the simple pleasures in life and can be achieved on a shoestring budget. In fact, the more money and prestige associated with an activity, the less hygge is”

So why not to give a try and bring a little bit of hygge in our lives, more happiness in our life?