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Cosy. What a lovely little word. It conjures up images of fluffy socks, blankets, cups of hot chocolate. It makes us think of others and gathering cosily together, particularly when it is cold and dark outside. Being cosy sounds incredibly inviting.

But what if being ‘cosy together’ had the potential to make some pretty powerful and positive changes to family life? In Denmark ‘being cosy together’ is central to family life and they are reaping the benefits. Denmark has been voted as having the happiest people in the world by the OECD
(Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) nearly every year since 1973 and much of this is being put down to another awesome little word …. ‘hygge’.

So what is this ‘hygge’ and why is it so powerful? Hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) literally means to get cosy together. And Danes often do this for whole days, uninterrupted. It can involve lighting candles, sharing food, playing games ….. Hygge is a way of life in Denmark. In her book ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’, Jessica Joelle Alexander describes Hygge in the following
way … ‘It is a feeling as well as a way of being …. It is choosing to enjoy the most important, meaningful moments of our lives – those with our children and family and friends… It is keeping them simple, making the atmosphere positive. It is wanting to be there in those moments, choosing to be there, and helping to contribute to having a cosy time’. Quality time with family and friends has been consistently shown by research to be one of the key elements of well-being and happiness. Feeling connected to others brings us happiness and purpose
and the Danes are leading the way in this.

Being together is key to hygge and ‘being cosy’ and leading directly from this is the important of teamwork within a family. Upon doing the research for this blog, I had ‘lightbulb’ moment after ‘lightbulb’ moment. Without me even realising the whole of the PFA seems to have been based on the principle of hygge. Who knew?! ‘Together is better’ has been a PFA principle from the very start and teamwork and co-operation feature hugely in Danish life and lead to connected and happy families.

So how can we get more ‘hygge’ within our family life?! How can we grab some of the Danish happiness for our own families? Our latest bundle ’COSY’ is jam-packed with some pretty wonderful ideas and I’ll give you a quick ‘heads up’ here.  Activities the Danes would see as ‘hygge’ … wearing cosy comfy clothes, lighting candles, gathering by a fire, snuggling under blankets, hot comfort food, hot drinks, family walks, movie nights. It is all about keeping things simple and being mindful.  But the emphasis is on doing these
together and gathering as a family (a big ‘no no’ would be scrolling through your phone as you are not ‘present’) and getting outside together as well as staying in is also super important.

But it is MORE than activities … it is also a state of mind. It is about enjoying simple pleasures and taking the time to notice them. It is about looking for the positives and using the ‘re-frame’ when negatives creep in (see the positive place in COSY for more on this). It is about putting time aside to spend as a family without allowing outside
interruptions to creep in. it is about confiding and sharing and working as a team. Pretty special hey?
Linda McNeill


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- 16 Nov 19

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Linda McNeill

Mum to 3. Wife to 1. Founder and creator of The Positive Family Academy. Inspiring families to reclaim quality family time and have a whole lot of fun in the process.

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