The Danish Lifestyle That's Taking Over the World

A cozy trend we can all get behind

Mar 6, 2017
The key ingredients are togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence, and comfort. (Shutterstock)

The key ingredients are togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence, and comfort. (AdaCo /

Hygge has serenely become one of the world's hottest buzzwords, and we say serenely, because hygge means embracing comfort and contentment with open arms. Hygge--pronounced "hoo-gah," was the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year in 2016. So what exactly does this buzzword mean?

According to TIME, the Danish word translates to embracing positivity and enjoyment from everyday experiences. For Scandinavians, it’s a core concept that embodies how they live their lives. It’s a feeling, an action, and a description all in one.

Recently, stores across the U.K. and the U.S. have advertised products (such as furry blankets, candles, soft slippers) that will give consumers that cozy feeling. Signe Johansen, Norwegian author of How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living, says that beyond the fuzzy household products, hygge holds a deeper meaning. “It’s been slightly been misconstrued as cosy domesticity. [In reality], it is much more deeply rooted in culture and resilience and making the most of what life has to offer you," he said.

Hygge could mean getting family and friends together for a non-fussy home cooked meal. It could mean lighting some candles and delving into a good book. It could even mean wrapping yourself up in a blanket and listening to the rain fall. The concept can be interpreted in many ways. What it must include, however, is a mindful decision to enjoy the small pleasures of life with those you care about most.

Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, explained the concept in his book. You know hygge when you feel it and the key ingredients are togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence, and comfort. “The true essence of hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and it’s basically like a hug, just without the physical touch," he said.

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Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.