Happiness

Is Hygge Why Danes Are So Happy?

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The Danish concept of hygge is tricky to translate—"coziness of the soul" is one blogger's attempt—but if you've ever snuggled up with a loved one under a blanket by the fire, you've definitely felt it.

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Why People Are Talking About It

According to The Guardian, nine books were published in 2016 with the word "hygge" (pronounced hoo-ga) in their titles. The Danish attitude toward coziness, with a focus on indulging and being kind to yourself, clearly strikes a chord with countries that are often occupied with working harder, dieting more, and climbing the social ladder.

There's a good reason Danes are so good at coziness: Danish winters are brutal. In the middle of winter, the temperatures rarely rise above freezing, and darkness persists for up to 17 hours a day. That drives people indoors to enjoy one another's company, perhaps with woolen socks, a half-dozen candles, and a cup of hot cocoa.

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Why It's Important

Denmark ranks among the world's happiest countries, and some say it has hygge to thank. The concept requires people to live in the moment, keep conversations light—no politics or religion—and ensure everyone is included in the conviviality. That's enough to keep anyone in high spirits, even before you light the fireplace. But Michael Booth at the Guardian suggests a different reason for their happiness: "They are rich, sexy and don't work very much; they also take more antidepressants than virtually anyone else in the world, and, yes, they like a drink and eat more confectionery and bacon per capita than most." Whether it's the hygge or the medication that makes Danes so satisfied, the coziness concept is one we can all get behind.

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Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Videos About Happy Danes

What Is Danish Hygge?

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The Cozy City of Copenhagen

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The Secrets Of Happiness

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