With the weather feeling very Scandinavian at present, it’s a good time to try to adopt the Danish principle of cosiness, comfort and pleasure in the little things for improved mental wellbeing. This winter, teachers at Framlingham College Prep School have emphasised the importance of taking time out to enjoy the simpler things in life through a series of presentations and talks to pupils.

According to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Hygge is: “a defining feature of [Danish] cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA.” And while it is loosely defined as making time for life’s simple pleasures, the concept is thought to be a contributing factor to Denmark’s status as one of the happiest nations on earth.

This winter, pupils at the Prep School have been encouraged to spend time enjoying hot drinks and reading while wearing comfortable clothes in front of the fire. According to the Danes, allowing yourself to take brief respite from personal concerns, and those of the wider world, can make all the difference to an individual’s wellbeing.

How do I know if it’s Hygge?

While it’s quite difficult to put a label on exactly what Hygge is, we’ve managed to come up with a list of things that definitely are, according to the Danish:

  • Candles – a central pillar of the Hygge lifestyle, the warming light of candles are central to the philosophy of creating a cosy environment to exist in. Denmark burns more candles per capita than anywhere else in the world as a result.
  • Blankets and knitwear – Thick socks, knitted jumpers and blankets are warm, comfortable and often patterned in such a way that you wouldn’t want to be seen in them outside of the house – perfect Hygge material.
  • Hot drinks and comfort food – Hot chocolates, fancy coffees and warming teas are crucial components to the Hygge environment. Serve with comfort foods like cookies or hearty meals for the full effect.

What’s not Hygge?

  • Your phone – staring at your phone, fielding messages and emails and reading the news is just immersing yourself in the world around you, which is the opposite of Hygge. Instead, pick up a book, wrap up warm and put the phone away.
  • Superficial purchases – Hygge is all about the simple life and therefore buying expensive new clothes online or the latest gadgets just to keep up goes against the whole philosophy.
  • Being hard on yourself – It’s contrary to the whole ethos of Hygge to give yourself a hard time about eating an extra slice of cake or watching too much TV.

Find out more about the concept of Hygge by visiting the Hygge House website here – www.hyggehouse.com/hygge

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