By: Olivia Cohen 

After an exhausting day, nothing sounds better than changing into comfortable clothes and curling up in a warm bed. During the dark and dreary months of the year, that daydream of cozy relaxation tends to occur frequently. While some people choose to push this fantasy to the back of their mind, the country of Denmark has decided to turn relaxation into a lifestyle priority.

Hygge, pronounced “hoo-guh,” is a Danish term that became popular in 2016. There is no direct translation of hygge, but the essence of the word is the ideal bliss experienced while in a state of coziness. As a way to combat seasonal affective disorder, hygge is used as an excuse to celebrate the winter months with fuzzy blankets, fireside chats, and piping-hot drinks.

Denmark, often known as the country with the happiest people on Earth, takes pride in its love for coziness. With over a dozen books written about  this concept including “The Little Book of Hygge” and “How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life,” it is evident that many of the Danes have achieved a bliss that Americans desire.

“Danes see hygge as a part of our culture, the same way you see freedom as inherently American,” said Meik Wiking, chief executive of the Happiness Institute in a “New Yorker” interview.  

While each individual practices hygge in their preferred way, Denmark and other Scandinavian countries combine age-old traditions with modern activities to achieve a peaceful state-of-mind. One of the most common activities is to enjoy muesli and glogg, a granola and mulled wine combination, while watching a movie or T.V. show by the fire.

The misconception about hygge is that the state-of-mind can only be achieved by doing a relaxing activity. In reality, something as simple as noticing a pretty object or hugging a family member can do the trick.  

“Hygge is a fragile bloom that can’t be forced,” said author of “The Book of Hygge,” Louisa Thomsen Brits to The New Yorker.

While it comes as no surprise that students at East experience stress frequently, many have also found time to practice hygge in their everyday lives.

“In order to lower my stress levels, I like to go to the movies,” said junior Connor Diaz.

Similar to Diaz, junior Natalie Troy enjoys video-streaming as her preferred form of relaxation.  “I like to make a cup of tea and watch Netflix or read while under a giant pile of blankets,” said Troy.

No matter what form hygge takes, it is an easy concept for students to incorporate into their everyday lives. Whether it be eating a favorite meal, curling up with a good book, or just talking to a friend, achieving cozy bliss has never come so naturally.

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