‘Hygge’ and Its Health Benefits
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, hygge refers to a Danish wellness concept that is taking Britain by storm. The Nordic word dates back to the 18th century and describes a feeling of cosiness and contentment while enjoying the good things in life, with good people. Hygge is the antithesis of today’s modern lifestyle wherein people are constantly connected through modern technology instead of through interpersonal experiences. In general, hygge involves blocking the negative from your life and embracing the good. For example, people are encouraged to spend time with friends and family, enjoy a cup of coffee in front of a fire, and eat cake now and then - without feeling guilty about it. The concept is very much a part of Danish life, which is frequently ranked as one of the world’s happiest countries.
Although the hygge lifestyle has been around for centuries, its popularity is booming, as people are embracing the trend - there were a slew of books written on the topic in 2016. Whilst the concept may be met with scepticism, it shouldn’t be dismissed outright, as it may provide the following wellness benefits:
- Hygge promotes exercise. It isn’t just about sitting around a fire and chatting. Hygge also encourages exercise as an enjoyable activity - not a chore. And if you exercise outside, such as going ice skating or hiking, you may experience lower stress levels and an increase in self-esteem.
- Hygge reduces stress. A recent survey found that people from Sweden, Denmark and Finland (where hygge is a lifestyle) were the least stressed of the 36 countries surveyed.
- Hygge reduces obesity. Despite the mentality of enjoying the good things in life without feeling guilty - including beer and sweets - in Sweden, the proportion of adults who are obese is 14 per cent, compared to Britain’s 27 per cent.
How to Hygge
- Have dinner with friends.
- Light some candles.
- Savour a good strong cuppa, hot cocoa or coffee.
- Rid yourself of negative distractions, such as the television or your mobile.
- Go for a hike outdoors.
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