I am very proud to be an American, especially as I look around at the tremendous heartache crushing our friends around the world these days. Our country is clean and beautiful, and nature has been good to us. We are diverse and free. For the most part we can feel safe and our lives are abundant. Despite this good fortune, I want to make the absolute most of my one great chance at life, and if that means learning a thing or two from the country that holds the top spot as the happiest nation in the world, then so be it. My rabbit ears are up, and I’m ready to learn to hygge.
Before we get in to “hygge,” let me tell you how I stumbled on to it. As a person who lives the highs high and the lows low, I’m often surprised at the way one can lead to the other. In this case, my adventure started with neck pain; which is definitely a low. I’m not sure if this pain comes from the hours sitting at a desk, on a bench at the ballpark, or just because I wear all my worries on my shoulders, but I can tell you, that I carry neck pain like a squirrel fills it’s cheeks with nuts. I suspect a weekly massage might help, but that doesn’t fit well in to the timeline or the budget of my life.
Desperate to find an easier solution, I started doing some research and landed on this impressive Danish study about the science of a daily 2-minute resistance band stretch. I triple-dog-dare you to watch the following video and not feel instantly more relaxed. I have no idea what this guy is saying, but I’m pretty sure these two are on to something good. I think my husband already has one of these resistance excercise bands, and I plan to spend 4 minutes of my life this weekend getting started.
Link to reducing neck and shoulder pain found on ScienceNordic.com
The video made me extremely curious to find out more about Danish life. Even though they have some of the worst weather in the world, I learned that the Danes appreciate small joys like boats, candles, being cozy, and consuming a lot of pastries. Throw in a few accessories, and it’s no wonder this has become a scientific recipe for lifelong happiness.
I also discovered that the Danes are known for this sweet sweater style called a Sontag.
Image and link to article from CostumeGirl.com
I could not find a single place online that sells them, and sometimes you just have to give up. My way of surrendering, is to accept the fact that I may have to take an actual trip to Denmark to find my heart’s desire. Which led me to this must see list of 37 Reasons Denmark Will Ruin You For Life.
Image of Nyhaven Skyline found here.
Those boats seal the deal; I am definitely adding a trip to Denmark to my bucket list. That means it’s time to check the country’s travel bureau, where I found the following video on the Danish secret to happiness ~ an untranslatable word and a way of life called “hygge.” There are a lot of different definitions of the word, but in essence it seems to be a feeling of “extreme coziness.” In fact, Danish hygge is such a coveted lifestyle, that scientists around the world are working to decode this phenomenon, and hygge is even popping up on college syllabuses. My favorite clip from this video is the candlelight brunch at the laundromat. If it’s possible to have a sense of happiness and joy while doing laundry, please sign me up for the class on that asap. Our son’s baseball pants are white; well mostly white. 🙂
Video found on VisitDenmark.com
The following are links to articles I enjoyed that give us a peek inside this extraordinary way of life.
- Hygge: A Heartwarming Lesson From Denmark
- How Living Like A Danish Woman Made Me Happier (and why it can for you too)
- Denmark Is Considered the Happiest Country: You’ll Never Guess Why
- Get cozy: why we should all embrace the Danish art of “hygge”
Something else that’s pretty amazing to read about, is the way that Danes have applied their cherished lifestyle to parenting, and how they are considered to be raising the happiest children on Earth. There is a whole website dedicated to the Danish Way of Parenting, with helpful tips on the art of reframing, no-ultimatums, and creating hygge together. Some non-Danes have been weighing in too on How Danish Parenting Works and How to Parent Like a Dane.
Here’s an old picture I love of our daughter having a hygge good time…
Here’s a picture of this morning with candles lit, which I’ve been doing a lot lately. (the Danes light them in the morning and during the summer too).
Shortly after this photo, my son woke up and we had a chance to cuddle. He asked me what a cloud’s favorite clothes are. The answer is “thunderwear.” This just might turn out to be the best moment of the day and it didn’t cost a penny. 😉
In a surprise visit, my Dad showed up with Cinnabons for us…just because. I love it that the box says “life needs frosting.” Whether they have these in Denmark or not, I don’t know, but they are delicious and about as American “hygge” as it gets. Thanks Dad for the icing on the cake to the coziest of days!
As Oregonians, we experience a lot of dreary, rainy days just like our Danish comrades. It was super fun to research information for this post, and interesting to me that the people of Denmark actually look forward to the darkest days of winter, because it gives them a chance to set their hearts and homes aglow with their own light.
If you don’t already have plans for the day, candles, cuddles, and Cinnabons might not be a bad way to spend it. Unless of course someone wants to have you over for brunch and invite you to bring your laundry…hint, hint Mom. 🙂
Ready, set, get hygge with it!