“Hy-what?” Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish practice of cozying up with friends, food, drink and fuzzy socks—preferably in front of a fire or a candle. The concept of hygge gained traction in the United States last year, when the UN’s annual World Happiness Report ranked Denmark the happiest country in the world, with other Nordic nations—Iceland, Norway and Finland—rounding out the top five (Switzerland was number two). As hygge is widely celebrated in these regions, could the act of conscious relaxation be the antidote to stress, anxiety and unhappiness?
“Jettison the anxieties and clutter of modern living to free up your time and energy to make the most of life,” writes author Signe Johansen in her book
How to Hygge (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016). Hygge’s guiding principle is that we must all make the most of the short time we have on this planet … and be kind to ourselves and those around us, she explains. Although glogg (warm, spiced red wine) is traditional hygge fare, we recommend that you whip up a mug of golden milk (see recipe, right), grab a book and hygge your way into the afternoon.