By Zoya Gervis // SWNS


The past year has been a tumultuous one, and it has driven Americans to appreciate the simple things in life more than ever before, according to a new report. 

The survey of 2,000 (census-balanced) Americans determined that 88% of those polled have found a new appreciation of the simpler things in life over the past 12 months. Close to as many (89%) have been trying to bring themselves daily joy to combat stress.

With restrictions in place across large portions of the country, comfort food (56%), quality time with loved ones (45%) and a good laugh (44%) are the top three simple things for which Americans have grown a renewed fondness.

The top comfort foods Americans are seeking are dairy, including ice cream (43%) and cheese (41%), as well as cookies (41%). However, cheese seemed to be the most prevalent with two-thirds of Americans calling it the ultimate comfort food. Those polled noted that they have been enjoying a variety of cheeses, including Havarti, Cheddar, Blue Cheese and more.

Not only is cheese being enjoyed on its own, but it is the go-to ingredient in comforting dishes that respondents have been indulging in more, like macaroni and cheese (36%) and grilled cheese (35%).

Commissioned by OnePoll on behalf of Castello, a Danish cheese brand, the study also found that a nice walk outdoors is another simple joy that 42% of Americans are craving.

Time alone (39%) and quiet time (40%) are two things Americans have come to enjoy, with 39% percent saying they could really go for a long-overdue massage.

Forty-one percent appreciate time with a good book, 42% with their favorite movie or TV show and 35% with a nice nap.

These instances of tranquility come as nearly three-quarters (72%) have begun to incorporate methods of mindfulness into their routines over the past year, including meditation and deep breathing exercises. 

One in three Americans focused on mindfulness have been incorporating the Danish practice of hygge — a mood defined by coziness, comfort and the feeling of contentment — in their daily lives. 

Americans that are not utilizing any mindfulness practices cite being too distracted or not sure how to incorporate them as top reasons. As mindful practices go, a quarter of Americans are interested in learning about hygge.

“In these unprecedented times, finding comfort in simplicity has never been more necessary,” said Castello spokesperson and Danish baroness and chef, Caroline Fleming. “The Danish practice of hygge is centered around finding comfort in your environment – and in your food – and based on the survey results, it sounds like most are practicing hygge without even realizing it!”

Just over half of the respondents say they actively try to create a cozy atmosphere in their home – an essential component of hygge. According to the results, 82% of those surveyed also say they are actively seeking out “comfort,” and the top way respondents find it is through food (43%).

Virtual time with friends and family (40%) and comfy clothing/loungewear (40%) round out the top three, with a nice cup of coffee/tea (38%) and exercise (38%) not far behind.

The results also showed that 52% of Americans have become a bit more indulgent when it comes to their food, opting for foods that bring more joy to their life.

“With consumers spending more time at home, it’s no surprise that they are turning to the comfort foods they love, like cheese,” said Leah Sbriscia, Castello Brand Manager. “To help provide consumers with hygge inspiration – including delicious Havarti cheese recipes – we developed the Hygge at Home handbook in partnership with Caroline Fleming. Available on, the handbook gives tips for making the most of this time at home, and consumers will receive a coupon for Castello Cheese with every download.”


  • Comfort food                           56%
  • Quality time with loved ones  45%
  • A good laugh                          44%
  • A vacation                              44%
  • Favorite movie/TV show        42%
  • A walk outdoors                      42%
  • A good book                           41%
  • Quiet time                               40%
  • Time alone                              39%
  • A massage                              39%

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