Brits feel most content when spending time with loved ones, having a cup of tea and sleeping, a study has found.

After a lonely and separated 2020, almost four in 10 feel at their most relaxed and happy when in the company of friends and family, and 27 per cent when having a hug.

Others feel content when laughing (32 per cent), having a clean and tidy house (22 per cent) and spending time with their furry friends (19 per cent).

Tucking into baked goods (18 per cent), having dinner cooking in the oven (20 per cent) and simply finishing work on time (seven per cent) also feature in the top 50 list.

It also emerged more than half of those polled admitted to needing comfort more than ever this year, with 67 per cent feeling that the last 12 months have been mentally tough.

Paulina Gorska, from Schulstad Bakery Solutions, which commissioned the research, said: “This year has been one of the hardest many of us have ever faced.

“And in a time of turmoil and uncertainty, we turn to comfort and want to spend time doing things which leave us feeling content, happy and able to forget about the real world for a little bit.

“Whether that is speaking to loved ones, reading a book or simply taking a few moments in the morning to unwind and enjoy a coffee and Danish pastry, it’s important to find something which leaves you feeling cosy and content to help your wellbeing.

“Sometimes it’s the little things in life which can make the most difference to how you feel.”

The study also found more than half (53 per cent) of those polled went as far as to say they were dreading the winter months this year, with four in 10 not looking forward to a ‘Covid Christmas.’

And with 53 per cent admitting they have felt more down and unsettled than ever before, 15 per cent have turned to other countries for inspiration on how to boost their wellbeing.

Almost four in 10 also said they have embraced the ‘hygge’ way of life – a Danish concept of cosy contentment and wellbeing – pronounced Hoo-gah to rhyme to nougat.

A fifth have done this by appreciating their surroundings, while 34 per cent have enjoyed the simple pleasures.

Others have made the most of socially distanced brunches with friends (12 per cent), enjoyed a good book (23 per cent) and indulged in a spot of pampering (12 per cent).

Positive psychologist and author of The Little Book of Happiness, Miriam Akhtar, said: “This survey reflects what we have seen over the course of the pandemic.

“When stress levels rise, people’s need for a sense of peace grows and we return to the simple, meaningful activities of life like hanging out with loved ones or engaging in absorbing hobbies and crafts.

“Hygge is a joyful state of mind when you feel at your most relaxed which more people should look to incorporate in their lives.

“To do hygge you need to feel completely at ease, either alone or in the company of loved ones.

“It clearly works as the Danes frequently top the league table of the happiest nations.”

The Scandinavian trend has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years.

Earlier this month, previous Great British Bake Off star, Sandi Toksvig, kicked off her BBC Radio 4 show that explores the Danish notion of hygge with celebrity guests.

But despite Brits grasping the concept of hygge, just one in five know how to pronounce the word.

More than half of those polled, via OnePoll, said they are in need of a hygge moment, with 55 per cent feeling this way during 2020 more than ever before.

And three in five declared they felt ‘happier and healthier’ when implementing hygge into their daily lives.

TOP 50 THINGS WHICH MAKE BRITS FEEL CONTENT

1. Spending time with family or loved ones
2. Laughing
3. Listening to music
4. Having time for themselves
5. Reading a book
6. Watching TV or a film
7. A hug
8. Having a hot drink and pastry
9. Chocolate
10. Eating their favourite meal
11. A long walk on the beach or in the woods
12. Getting into a bed made with freshly washed bed sheets
13. Sleeping
14. Hanging out with friends
15. A clean and tidy house
16. Reconnecting with nature
17. Travelling
18. A comforting dinner
19. Booking a holiday
20. Smiling
21. Spending time with pets
22. Exercising
23. Having a slice of cake or a baked good
24. Connecting with their partner
25. Having a lie in
26. Eating something sweet
27. Switching off
28. Helping other people
29. Sitting under a blanket on the sofa while it’s raining outside
30. Ticking everything off their to-do list
31. Hearing their children laughing
32. Cooking or baking
33. Waking up and realising it’s the weekend
34. An early night with a good book
35. Decluttering
36. Going on a date with a loved one
37. Starting a new book
38. Pampering
39. A good day at work
40. Having a bath with a candle
41. Listening to the radio or a podcast
42. Buying everything they need on their shopping list
43. Crafting
44. Finishing work on time
45. Meditating
46. Cleaning
47. Painting or drawing
48. Putting their out of office on
49. Keep a gratitude log or diary
50. Being on social media

10 WAYS TO HYGGE, ACCORDING TO HAPPINESS EXPERT, MIRIAM AKHTAR

1. Create a hygge home. Comfy sofas, log fire, woodburner, low lighting, candles, cosy blankets. Listen to great music. Mull some wine. Scent your environment with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pine.

2. Dress hygge.  Comfortable loose-fitting clothes, fleeces, onesies, thick woollen socks, sheepskin slippers and boots. Repurpose your apres-ski wear for lounging around. Drop the bra.

3. Cook hygge with food and drink that warm you up – hot chocolate, warm Danish pastry, soups, casseroles, roasts, curries. Eat seasonably with winter veg.

4. Do hygge. Engage with simple, pleasurable activities like those long-neglected hobbies. Read a book rather than surf online. This year has seen a resurgence of craft activities – baking, sewing, knitting. Jigsaw puzzles. Activities like these put you into flow aka ‘in the zone’, a delicious state where you’re fully absorbed in what you’re doing.

5. Family hygge. Spend time with your loved ones, hanging out and chatting, playing games, walking in the forest or on the beach. The biggest source of wellbeing is our relationships with other people.

6. Friday night hygge. Instead of a Friday night on the town, Danes will often start the weekend by snuggling on the sofa to watch a film with their loved ones, accompanied by snacks. Think Gogglebox.

7. Take an evening walk to admire the Christmas lights and enjoy the feeling of peace on the quiet streets. Get together with neighbours to arrange festive window displays. Get your road to do an advent calendar.

8. While you’re on the sofa watch a classic movie like It’s a Wonderful Life or one of the Disney films.

9. Go to bed early with a good book or magazine. Sleep in. Linger in bed in the morning.

10. Do nothing! Relax and let your mind wander.  Enjoy the freedom to be a human being rather than a ‘human doing’.

ENDS

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