January 4 – Hygge
Have you ever sat down with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and a book on a cold day and revelled in the feeling that invitingly surrounds you? When asked to describe this feeling you may use words like cozy, comforting, warm, happy. If you lived in Denmark, there’s a single cultural concept that could be used to illustrate your sentiments and more. It is hygge. It’s likely you may have heard of hygge, pronounced loosely as (hoo-gah), as its gained popularity worldwide in the last few years. The people of Denmark have topped the charts for happiest people in the world for decades, and many of them will credit hygge in large part for this happiness.
So what exactly is hygge? In the English language we don’t have an exact word that means the same thing, so we have to use a variety of ideas. First of all, hygge can be a noun or an adjective. Something can be hygge, or you can have a hyggely time, for example. The closest word in the English language is cozy, but it also has to do with friends, family, good food, and comfort. Hygge defines Danes decorating preferences, get togethers, and cooking. If you’re ever invited to a Danish dinner party, you’re likely to find delicious, fatty food, sugary desserts, alcohol, candlelight, and lots of laughter. It’s likely at some point, someone may refer to the get together as hygge. It’s this constant attention to hygge that aids Danes happiness and comfort as individuals and as a society.
One major step towards hygge is creating it in your living space as the Danish do. So how can you bring hygge into your home? Start room by room, assess each item, does it give you comfort and pleasure? Or is it simply clutter. How is the lighting? Is the furniture positioned in a way that encourages interaction? Want another way to bring hygge into your life? Create a hygge moment either solo or with others. Think of an activity you find soothing and calming then do it! Whether that means going for a walk, bundled up on a cold day, reading in front of the fire, or cooking a large meal. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be cold to be hygge. Sharing time on a back patio with ice tea in the summer sun can also be hygge. The key is simply to find the moments that bring simple pleasure. The more you look for them, the more you’ll enjoy them. Now that’s hygge.
To learn more about hygge, check out these great reads.
“The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking.
“The Joy of Hygge: How to Bring Everyday Pleasure and Danish Coziness into Your Life” by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen.
“How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life” by Signe Johnasen.
Quote of the Day:
“…to hold twilight or watch it darken, describes the pleasure we take in pausing to observe as day slips into night.
To stand at our window, wrapped in the half-dark and watch the day disappear… is a moment of hygge.”
― Louisa Thomsen Brits, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well
Song of the Day:
The Luckiest by Ben Folds