May 9, 2019

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What Can We Learn from the Danish Concept of Hygge?

In recent years, Denmark has consistently topped as the happiest country in the world. Although the title is now given to Finland this year, Denmark is still in the top 3. Singapore, on the other hand, ranks only 34th, even as such a successful nation. Now, Denmark (and many Scandinavian countries) credits one thing in particular when it comes to happiness, hygge. So what is it exactly? And can Singaporeans adopt it to be happier? Here’s what you need to know.

What is hygge?

Pronounced “hue-ge” or “hoo-ga”, hygge is one of those words that cannot be directly translated to one single word. It is basically the Danish term for coziness, the feeling of contentment, and/or well-being by relishing the simple things in life. To the Danish, it is more than just a term or concept. For them it is a part of their culture, lifestyle, some even say it’s part of their DNA.

Today, more and more people around the world practice hygge as a lifestyle and Singaporeans should not miss out on it too!

What counts as hygge?

Typically, hygge in Denmark is significantly present during winter. Sipping hot chocolate and hearing the soft crackle of the burning fireplace, that’s a common hygge scenario there. But obviously, you can’t do that in Singapore. So what counts as hygge here?

If hygge ever started in Singapore, food would be the most common. Going to hawker centres and eating chicken rice or any of your favorite local food can be counted as hygge. But, instead of gobbling it all down, take your time to enjoy the moment and savor the taste of the dish in front of you. And remember, hygge is about keeping things simple so avoid buying food that’s too expensive.

Aside from having a clean house, the primary mark of hygge in your home is candles. Although lighting candles is not recommended when the weather is hot, it can be especially great to have during the rainy season. Scented or not, lit candles can provide a calming hygge aesthetic. Just remember to keep it safe from children!

Benefits of hygge

Increased optimism

Given the state of happiness the Danish are already in, this is one of the more obvious benefits of hygge. You can be more confident and hopeful about more things in life simply because you are able to enjoy the simple little things in life.

Better attention to the self

Following hygge also promotes a sense of comfort and safety. It helps us ease up and let our mind and body relax, basically encouraging more practices of self-care. It empowers us to be more comfortable in our own skin which then can improve our self-compassion.

Better relationships

Given all the things said above, you may assume that hygge is about doing things by yourself, not at all! Hygge is also about playing board games or having deep conversations with your family, friends, or loved ones.

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