Denmark

there a science to joy

lt imagine this. it’s saturday morning. you wake up at eight to the sound of birds. your phone is charging in another room, so you don’t roll over and immediately start swiping. instead, you put on your favorite bathrobe, brew a cup of strong coffee, and sit by the window. you watch parents push strollers in the park. your downstairs neighbor leaves the building for a jog. the apple tree across the street is beginning to blossom. you wait for your coffee to cool to the perfect temperature. why rush? you have no where you need to be. in the late morning, you bike to the farmer’s market to meet your friends. together, you buy fresh fish, vegetables from a local farm, and a loaf of bread. the bread is still warm from the oven. while one of your friends stands in line to buy pastries, you notice an older woman struggling with her bags. you help her carry them to the car. while you walk together, she reminisces about how she sold flowers at the market when she was young. it’s a beautiful day. the sky is bright and clear, and there is a cool breeze. you and your friends take the groceries back to your apartment. later, you will cook and feast together by candlelight, but for now you are headed to the park with pastries. the picture above may sound heavenly, but it’s not magic. it’s just living in accordance with the principles of hygge, a danish philosophy of life. think of hygge as all things cozy and soulful. it’s about creating long term well-being by celebrating life. it’s about joy. the danes understand the importance of joy. that’s why hygge has become a core part of their culture. it’s also why they consistently rank as the happiest people on earth. in the last decade, people have grown curious about hygge. journalists love to write about it. anthropologists love to study it. the hygge lifestyle draws so much attention because it almost seems too good to be true. it mixes hedonism and abundance with mindfulness and groundedness. how is that possible, and how can we all begin to integrate hygge principles into our lives? a good place to start is by asking yourself some questions. the word ‘hygge’ literally means “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” what makes you feel cozy? what activities create a sense of contentment? it’s also important to ask yourself some hard questions. for instance, why is it so hard to charge your phone overnight in a different room? will the world actually burn down if you unplug and drink a glass of wine in the bath? to start living in accordance with hygge, you need to practice slowness. the danes understand that rushing rarely leads to contentment. that’s why so many classic hygge activities are intentionally slow: Prepping, cooking, and eating a meal with friends or family. Taking a bike ride with no destination in mind. Calling a friend on a rainy evening. Reading in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate. Spending a Sunday afternoon decluttering your wardrobe. A good way to test whether you are engaging in a hygge activity is to track how you feel afterwards. Do you feel more grounded and joyful? If so, you were probably doing something that counts as hygge. The challenge is that most of us are used to being anxious and rushed. We’ve become attached to notifications on our phones. We’re trained to always strive for efficiency. That means doing something hygge can feel uncomfortable at the start. For most of us, it’s no longer a natural way of engaging with the world. It takes bravery to stand up against the pressure to rush. There will be growing pains involved. But the results are worth it. Achieving a hygge lifestyle brings all sorts of benefits with it. You will not only have made more room for joy in your life, but you will feel more calm and at ease in your body. You will direct your attention to the things you truly value. You won’t get as caught up in irrelevant drama. The real magic of hygge is that when you are courageous enough to stop stuffing so many things into your day, your life ends up being much fuller. To explore your hygge lifestyle through the lens of science, head to thecor.com and try out the Denmark essentials program. References Green and black tea for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease Coffee intake and elevated cholesterol and apolipoprotein B levels in men The Protective Effect of Habitual Tea Consumption on Hypertension Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality;">