Health

Where coziness meets happiness: Norway's koselig and Denmark's hygge

Published 9:04 AM ET, Wed May 1, 2019
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Norway has a concept that's central to its national character. It's called "koselig," and it's a combination of nature, companionship and coziness promoting personal well-being. Photo Illustration/Shutterstock
Denmark has a similar concept, called "hygge." Image Source/Getty Images
Nature-embracing countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark have each recently led the list of the happiest countries in the world. karandaev/iStockphoto/Getty Images
You could roughly translate koselig (pronounced "koosh-lee"), as "coziness," but that leaves out crucial components like enjoying the company of others and a connection with nature.
Hygge is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being." Cavan Images/Getty Images
Some research supports the power of koselig-esque elements. DbD Planning
Exposure to nature increases social engagement and physical activity. Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
Having a lot of vegetation near your home decreases your odds of dying prematurely by 12%, according to one study. This is the Treehotel in the Swedish Lapland. Johan Jansson
Comfort foods (nutritious and otherwise) have proven psychological benefits; one study showed that they can spur feelings of connectedness and reduce loneliness. Jennifer Sharp/E+/Getty Images
Comfort foods are "a cognitive and emotional reminder of others," according to one study. Marie C Fields/Shutterstock
Staring at fire induces relaxation and lowers blood pressure. Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures
Anything that decreases stress, such as breaks from work, has numerous mental and physical health benefits. Taking in the Northern Lights over Kåppas Cabin Village in Sweden might be of help. Sergei Trus
A study showed that people who take walks in nature report less repetitive negative thoughts. Here, a woman walks in the woods on the way up to the Bondhusbreen glacier inside Folgefonna National Park in Norway. Morten Falch Sortland/Moment RF/Getty Images
Something inside us responds instinctively to the gifts of koselig. iStock