What is Hygge? If the Danish are to be believed, we all need to get a bit more ‘hygge’ in our lives. The art of ‘hygge’ (pronounced HOO-ga and done with a bit of a guttural effort) doesn’t translate as one word in English – it’s more of a feeling of enjoying simple everyday pleasures, especially with other people.
It is cosiness, relaxation and good food. It is a warm glow and a feeling of gratitude and well being. It is taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things and enjoying friends and family. It is a constant in Danes lives – they talk about it, plan it, recognise it when it is happening and then look back afterwards and appreciate it.
Why is it important?
Denmark is regularly ranked number one in the annual World Happiness Report. 2016 World Happiness Report – and they also held the number one spot in 2013 and 2014. Research has shown that high levels of gratitude are associated with high levels of happiness – so maybe the Danes are on to something here.
How to enjoy some hygge in your life
Hygge is not about spending a lot of money on luxury items – it’s more about appreciating the simple things and crafting your life in a way that celebrates hygge. The Danes express this in every aspect of their life from their architecture, which includes natural products such as wood and leather, to their room styling which includes warm, low lighting from lamps – and lots of candles (all very flattering!).
It extends beyond the physical though – spending relaxing time with family and friends is most important. Here are some ideas to promote hygge in your life:
- Light candles and dim the lights in the evening
- Put some relaxing music on – and turn the (shouting) on the TV off
- Plan meals with family and friends and encourage them to stay at the (candlelit) table for long conversations.
- Welcome friends and family in to your home (and home from work and school) with the offer of food or drink
- Actively be grateful for what you have – at meal times encourage everyone to identify what is good in their life (especially the small stuff)
- Bake a cake and find someone to enjoy it with (and don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect)
- Enjoy the weather for what it offers – cold weather brings the chance for snuggling on the couch under a cosy blanket with a hot drink. Wind is exhilarating, rain is for splashing in and sun is for lying on the ground watching the clouds pass by, or under a tree luxuriating in the speckled shade.
- Run a bath and pop in something simple like some flower petals, Epsom salts, some lavender or rosemary sprigs or even dried sage from the kitchen drawer. Don’t forget to light some candles.
- Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas – if you have some white ones, why not have them twinkling year round.
- If you have a spa pool – use it and encourage the family to join you.
Do you think you need to promote hygge in your life – and what ideas do you have to do so?
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