Year after year, surveys show that Nordic people, particularly Danes, are among the happiest on Earth. But how can a country with such limited sunshine, frequent rain and wind, and long, cold winter months be so happy?
The answer lies in five basic values that Nordic countries live by: Freedom, Realism, Community, Trust – and Hygge.
These five pillars are especially important to those of us living in Denmark. They form a big part of everyday life and are integrated into almost everything we do. But the interesting thing is – we are often not aware of them – they simply reflect our approach to life and who we are.
The most popular of the five pillars is of course, Hygge.
And the most frequently asked question is: What is Hygge, and how can it be defined?
Put simply, Hygge is about enjoying life in the moment.
Take your Time
Time to be with people you like and love. When you enter a Hygge space, you leave your everyday problems at the door. Time to not think about the mortgage, hectic work schedules, making that dinner reservation or household chores. Hygge is about dedicating time to the cherished people around you.
Focus on the Present
Hygge is about creating a safe, comfortable space. There should be no room for arduous political debate or controversial topics. Simply enjoying the presence of those around you is all that is required to create the Hygge space. A monumental feeling of wellbeing should soon follow.
The Importance of Food & Drink in Hygge
So, when you “Hygger” in Denmark, there’s often a strong food and drinks element too.
One of the most common ways to Hygge is sitting in the couch, with your legs pulled up underneath, covered with a blanket, and a hot cup of coffee. Next to you is a good friend having a long talk about life. Being present.
Another way could be to invite a couple of friends over. Make some nice food complemented with a glass of wine. And again – just being present.
Good food and drink is one of the simplest ways to feel happy. So, the combination of that happy feeling with good friends or family, will give you a monumental slice of Hygge.
We Danes often don’t think about how much Hygge we have in our everyday lives. It is such a big part of our way of living that we do it instinctively, without thinking about it.
In Great Britain, for example, you can go to school and study Hygge.
Why is Hygge so important to us Danes, and why are there so many other countries that look towards Denmark, and the Nordic countries, to learn about Hygge?
Let us be honest: Life isn’t always a breeze where the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and everything is perfect. That’s why it’s so important to make space to feel relaxed and feel good.
Hygge gives you these moments to be happy.
So, what makes Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer is: HYGGE.
The Danish Bakery will be hosting their coffee and food pairing 'Hygge Experience' throughout The London Coffee Festival. Head to the schedule page to secure one of the last available spots.