This Is the Secret to Happiness, According to Danish Women

Hygge (pronounced “hue-gah,” not “huggy”—shame) is something we all need right now. If you’ve been living under a rock or on the moon for the past 18 months, let us introduce you: It’s the Danish concept of being cosy and, in turn, happier—contented. And since winter is drawing ever closer, we should all be down with getting a bit more hygge. The people of Denmark apparently have an uncanny ability to make any and every situation more hygge, whether they’re stuck in a traffic jam or gathering with friends. And it’s not just some airy New Age concept. According to the World Happiness Report 2016, Denmark is the happiest country in the world, and it has a lot to do with hygge. The UK? We don’t even rank in the top 10, but before you get depressed, let’s turn things around…

Keep scrolling to find out exactly what hygge is and how to incorporate it into your everyday life.



Free People

With the weather turning ever more changeable as we work our way unstopping through the calendar, and the news around us more and more bleak, people have been looking to hygge, rather than HIIT, to feel good. We want to feel happy, cosy and safe and that’s what hygge does. So what is it?

According to VisitDenmark, “hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family—that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking—preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps the Danish idea of hygge explains why Danes are often considered the happiest people in the world?’

While “the high season of hygge is Christmas,” it’s not only a once-a-year thing—the Danes also embrace hygge 365. “It’s about cherishing yourself, battening down the hatches and snuggling up. I discovered hygge is very much a part of Danish life,” explains Charlotte Abrahams, author of Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures, Living the Danish Way.

Hygge is about creating an environment that is cosy, but it’s also about sharing that cosy place with friends and family. Another hygge rule? You should live in the moment rather than having one eye on Instagram all the time. Keep scrolling for Byrdie’s guide to embracing hygge.


The very essence of hygge is making your home super cosy. For us beauty girls that naturally translates to making bath times brilliant with candles, richly scented bath oils and aura spray (yep, aura spray).


It’s also about embracing and seeing wonder in the small things, whether that’s slicking on your favourite red lipstick, trying a new polish shade or even taking a moment to declutter your makeup bag. Cue new makeup bags, of course.


Another key factor in the art of hygge is sharing moments with friends and being present in that moment. Invite your girls around, open a bottle of wine and have a pampering session. It’s really key that you’re present in the moment, so put your phone away. The wine part is imperative.


Rainy days can be über depressing so you need to turn the day on its head. If it’s the weekend, then take the moment to hide under a cashmere blanket and read a good book. Have to go outside? It’s a chance to try a fun new rainy-day hairstyle or road-test that new waterproof mascara (okay, we’re pushing hygge to its limits here, but it’s all about the little things, remember).

There may be no set rules about what hygge is, essentially it’s what makes you happy and content. Whatever helps keep you smiling during the bleak winter months, that’s hygge. And if you still need more convincing, anything that makes buying Jo Malone candles practically a necessity is surely a winner?

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Opening Image: Wildfox Couture