It’s no secret that Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world. But why?...One word: Hygge (pronounced hooga, not high-gee)

Lindsey Doring

I recently read, The Little Book of Hygge, Danish Secrets to Happy Living written by Meik Wiking, and let me tell you, I loved every word of it. I felt like this was exactly what I needed in my life, or at least, what I needed way more of in my life. There is no one word in the English language, it is a combination of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Hygge is a way of life for the Danes. It is a word commonly thrown around all of Denmark because it is such a well known, and necessary part of their society. The weather in Denmark can be cold, dark, and rainy for a large portion of the year. Hyyge is not only what gets the Danes through it, but what keeps them the happiest country in the world.

Hygge is all about atmosphere and experience. It is when you are snuggled next to the fireplace drinking hot chocolate with your family on Christmas eve, spending the night in your dorm with your 4 closest friends eating pints of Howling Cow ice cream during Hurricane Florence, or maybe it’s just laying down after that organic chemistry exam and letting the world pass you by until your brain can fully recover from the battle it just fought with those alkaline structures. Everyone needs that peace of mind and comfort in their lives when tests are coming up! And I am here to tell you just how to bring some hygge into your life, and through what better way than FOOD! There are 3 easy ways to embrace the hygge-life and bring some peace into your stressful semester.

1. Hot drinks, hot drinks, hot drinks

chai, tea, latte, chaitea
Rebecca Buechler

In a survey out of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, it was found that the number 1 thing associated with hygge is hot drinks. There is something intrinsically comforting about cuddling with a warm cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Making a nice hot cup of tea instantly de-stresses me while I am study and just makes me a little happier. So start up your Keurig and get the hot drinks going for an automatic cup of hygge.

2. Treat yo’ self

chocolate, cupcake, cake, frosting, girl
Jocelyn Hsu

Park and Rec put it best, hygge is all about treating yourself. Meik Wiking writes “you can’t buy happiness but you can by cake”. And I have never read anything that hits so close to my heart than that statement. I have such a strong sweet tooth, I can never and will never turn down anything chocolate. Hygge is all about enjoying the simple pleasures of sugary treats, so go get yourself some Campfire Delight or that red velvet cup cake from Talley Market! It is scientifically proved that indulging in that piece of triple chocolate lava cake helps make you happy. Rewarding yourself releases dopamine in your brain which gives you the feeling of pleasure. And because of that, we associate certain kinds of food with the feeling of pleasure and happiness. One of the best ways to reward yourself for all your hard work, is to find whatever it is that brings you back to a time before tests, papers, and projects took over your life and take a moment to indulge in a sweet treat.

3. DIY that ish

pie, pie making, Baking, pie crust, cherry pie
Julia Gilman

Like I said before Hygge is all about the experience, taking things slow, and enjoying the moment. And one of the best ways to do that is to cook and to bake low and slow. How hyggelig a food is lies in its preparation, the longer it takes for a dish to cook, the better. Or should I say the more hyggelig! The slow process of things, the aromas that arise, and the subtle sounds that fill your apartment (or your dorm’s communal kitchen) are the things that will make the experience memorable and allow you to fully enjoy and appreciate spending the time to prepare something of value. When the inevitable snow day comes around, find an awesome chili recipe and spend the day making food with friends!

Food has such strong ties to feelings, emotions, and memories. It can be a simple way to bring a little nostalgia, some good and happy feelings, some peace and comfort back into the stressful life of a college student. I hope you join me in embracing hygge and use these three easy ways to help make your life, just a little bit happier.