Don’t Know How to Chill? Try Hygge

It's winter. The days are short, the weather is gray and we're feeling the pang of a holiday happiness hangover. Some of us look to the New Year with optimism and a desire to cast aside the old and bring in the new. Others are still feeling the financial pain of holiday overspending and the desire to hibernate. Before going to one extreme or the other, maybe we should learn to practice hygge (hoo-ga), the Danish word with no English equivalent. In a nutshell, hygge means a feeling of contentment created from the simple things. In a recent article on the hygge trend in Country Living, Lyndsey Matthews writes,

Hygge is such an important part of being Danish that it is considered “a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA,” according to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.

“In other words, what freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes,” Wiking says in his book The Little Book Of Hygge.

This national obsession with all things cozy is credited as one of the reasons why Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world's happiest countries, despite their infamously miserable winters. And recently, the rest of the world has begun to catch on to this wonderful way of life.

I'm ready for the simple pleasures of a cozy blanket, a good book and some time spent only in the pursuit of what brings me peace. (Drinking wine? Sleeping? Watching Cocktail? All of the above?) Inhale, exhale and take a minute to just chill out – you've earned it.