“Hygge” Moments Reduce Stress and Make You Happier

Working hard is not a new phenomenon. In order to do well both at work, at home, as a mother, wife, and woman – according to the current trends – the bar is set high. We know that we are susceptible to stress when we do not live up to society and work, but it can cause us to forgo a life of self-realization, competency development, autonomy, and flexibility.

Many of us do not only suffer from stress, but also depression. We often feel guilty, have low self-esteem, and feel a lot of disappointment with ourselves. These stressful feelings are not always tackled properly, and allows for the risk of stress to intensify. We commit ourselves in a world where there is no room and space for reflection and presence with ourselves and our closest relationships. We are too busy not failing!

We need to take ourselves and our lives seriously, and the answer might be in the concept of “hygge”– the Danish phenomena that has spread all over the world after The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids became a bestseller and translated into 19 languages. The word “hygge” (pronounced hooga) dates back to the 19th century and is derived from the Germanic word “hyggja,” which means to think or feel satisfied.

Being in a social group is a very big part of being Danish. Danes like to find ways to work together and support each other in social groups, because we know that feeling connected to others gives meaning and purpose to all of our lives and therefore hygge is valued so highly.

Social support helps us to manage stress when we have people we can turn to in difficult times. Being honest and vulnerable often leads to a great response in others, as it can be recognized emotionally – and in this emotional resonance, we create closer ties and a feeling of being recognized and heard. When we are surrounded by people who care for us and love us, we are more ready to face life’s challenges without breaking down. It allows for the distribution of the stress we carry to get it off our backs and Danes finds this of great value. We become more resilient. The individual is prized absolutely, but without the interaction and support of others we don’t think we can be truly happy as a whole person. It comes from the country that has cornered the market on happiness for over 40 years in a row.

Let’s all focus more on social ties, togetherness, and sharing all kind of moments together in the future. We should not ignore the high stress level, and if the answer is to be found in the phenomena “hygge,” maybe it is time to invite it in!

The Danish Way’s tips to how to get started:

Confide and share
When you are down or in a difficult moment, confide and share with your good friends and loved ones you trust. Remember, this reduces stress and helps you get over it faster.

Practice empathy
Be vulnerable. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. This will help all of your social ties and interactions. Practicing empathy will be the single biggest factor in helping you reframe.

Team building
Organize more team-building activities for you and your children to encourage working together. Make scavenger hunts, build something, organize a tournament. Be creative.

Hygge is not about size
Remember that “hygge” can be done with one or two people. It’s about sharing and feeling connected. Belonging to a community!

You can download the Hygge Oath on www.thedanishway.com.

Iben Sandahl is the best-selling author of The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids. She is a Danish parenting expert, narrative psychotherapist MPF, teacher and speaker. She has more than 20 years of experienced insight into child psychology and education, which in a most natural way anchor the Danish way of practicing parenthood. Her book is translated into 18 languages. You can visit Iben’s Facebook page or follow her on Instagram for more inspiration about parenting.




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