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BREATHING SPACE

How to keep cosy, the Scandi way

A college in the UK is now giving lessons in hygge – the Scandi art of finding happiness

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By Marisa Bate on

It’s starting to get cold, it’s getting darker earlier and you’ve started wearing opaque tights. Summer is over. But as sad as all that might seem, it this is actually the perfect time to practise some Hygge. 

Hygge is a Danish word, roughly translating to “cosiness” – but it’s more than low-lighting and a pot of tea by the fire. It is a an attitude that some believe is responsible for the fact the Danes are amongst the happiest people in the world. 

Achieving hygge apparently makes you not only happier, but also nicer, and is essential to understanding, not only Danish culture, but that of all the Scandinavian countries. This is why Morely college in London is now teaching students how to achieve Hygge as part of their Danish language course. 

So how can you achieve this slice of Scandi-bliss? There are a myriad of ways, from dinner with friends to reading a good book, but at its heart the focus is always on feeling good, forgetting worries and relaxing into the simple pleasures of life. Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country told the BBC: “The rest of the world seems to be slowly waking up to what Danes have been wise to for generations – that having a relaxed, cosy times with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer, can be good for the soul”. Can it really be that simple?

In an age of endless remedies to the stresses of life, from mindfulness to clean living, the Danish approach seems remarkably refreshing. And while spending quality time with either yourself or others might sound time a luxury of time you don’t have, perhaps it’s time to rearrange priorities. Because a recipe for happiness prescribing times with loved ones, which is free, fun and good for your soul, is pretty hard to ignore. 

BBC

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