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How to embrace ‘Hygge’ for a happier, healthier lifestyle

Time and time again, Danes are continually crowned the happiest people on the planet. And let’s face it, indexes like the World Happiness Report by the United Nations don’t lie. So, what’s the Scandinavian secret to living a happy life?

cosy, beans, comfortAccording to lifestyle experts, it’s all about embracing Hygge. Pronounced hoo-ga, the word translates roughly to “cosiness.” While it sounds simple, hygge is a multifaceted concept that defines the Scandinavian way of life. At its core hygge is a philosophy. A way of life that’s helped Danes understand the importance of relaxation, simplicity and creature comforts.

But what exactly does it mean? Is it playing a game of scrabble by the warm glow of candlelight? Is it snuggling up in a cosy pair of socks, or enjoying a glass of red wine on a winter’s night? Yes. It’s all of the above, and more.

The good news is, it’s amazingly easy to incorporate hygge into your life. Here’s how to get started:

Cleanse and declutter

The first step to hygge is to declutter. To Danes, the home is an extension of the self. This means yours should reflect what’s important to you as an individual. Start by sifting through every object in a room and keep only those that support you in a positive way. This can be either by function or genuine love, which the Danes refer to as “heart value.” If it doesn’t bring you joy it could be time to part ways.

Mood and ambience

Once you’ve completed your base you can work on creating hygge inspired ambience. Candles are a great place to start, though you can up the effect by installing electric fireplaces that flicker and glow for hours on end. Amazingly, a recent scientific study by the University of Alabama confirmed that sitting in front of a fire and listening to the sound of crackling logs can facilitate a “significant reductions in blood pressure.” Incredible. Of course, the art of hygge wouldn’t be complete without some elements of Scandi-chic. An easy way to do this is by incorporating natural materials like wood and leather into your space for instant appeal.

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Put it into practice

You’ve set the scene, and now it’s time to enjoy your newfound sense of hygge. So rather than browse the web on your laptop or stress about what you’re going to cook for dinner, why not whip yourself up an indulgent hot chocolate, snuggle up with your favourite blanket and spend an hour or two getting lost in a good book? Pure, unadulterated hygge.

People having cooking party in kitchen of a houseThrow a dinner party

Hygge goes well beyond aesthetics, which means to truly embrace the concept you need to live and breathe the philosophy. There’s no better place to start than by hosting a dinner for your loved ones. Cook up a hearty meal, light up the dining room with candles and enjoy an evening spent with your favourite people. Only then will you start to understand the true meaning of hygge.