At its essence, hygge is a state of thought – one that turns us from the fast pace and complexity of modern society to slow down and celebrate the joy and simplicity of life. According to a recent report on stress, the Danish pursuit of hygge and peaceful contentment may also be a healthy one.
Denmark had not been my first choice as a place to study abroad. The Danish language is difficult, the landscape unremarkable, and the weather often cold and gray. My preference had been to study in Italy. Yet, my year in Copenhagen was one of the best of my life and it changed me forever. I found it no surprise that Forbes.com reported the Danish people as the happiest on earth. The love and pursuit of hygge may be a significant reason.
From my experience, hygge has always had a spiritual quality to it – one that glimpses the divine goodness embracing each of us. To me, it’s somewhat like the biblical passage, "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
Danes may call it hygge, but we’re all capable of seeing the good in our lives and experiencing the same intimate peace and warmth. This year, consider making use of your fireplace or some holiday candles and have a very "hyggelig" holiday season!