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“Denmark often ranks as the happiest country in the world, earning the top spot on the World Happiness Report in three of the past five years (and finishing number two and three in the other years).
This can partially be explained by the fact that the Danes receive free health care and university education, five weeks of paid vacation each year, and substantial unemployment benefits, and they routinely leave the office by 4 or 5 p.m.
Denmark does a fantastic job of reducing many of life’s stresses for its inhabitants. But that doesn’t necessarily separate Denmark from other Nordic countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, the residents of which all enjoy a similar quality of life.
The secret ingredient for the Danes’ happiness is their obsession with “hygge.”
Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) roughly translates to a sense of coziness, togetherness, and well-being. It is warmth, comfort, slowness, intimacy, rusticity, and simplicity. The Danes spend their days and nights pursuing it.
Contrast that with the United States — down at number 14 in the World Happiness rankings — where we spend many of our days feeling busy, rushed, and stressed. We would be well served to take a page from the Danes’ book — slow it down, and take time to really enjoy life.”
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