The Danish Art Of Hygge
Until quite recently, I had never heard of the Danish word, and philosophy, that is ‘hygge’… I now can scarcely imagine a life without it!
So what is the Danish art of hygge and why should we care?
Well, hygge is a feeling, an experience, an atmosphere. It’s the small comforts in life taking centre stage… warm nights spent in front of the fire, a great dinner party spent with those closest to you, relaxing at the end of the day with a cup of something warm and a book.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The Danish are proven to be the happiest nation in the world, as announced by the Happiness Research Institute, and the happiness of the Danes seems to come down to what they call ‘hygge’.
So how can we incorporate some hygge into our lives?
Here are some tips on how to enjoy the Danish art of hygge
1. Light a candle/s
No recipe for hygge is complete without lighting a few candles around your space. When Danes are asked what they associate most with hygge, candles are the answer for 85% of them. Apparently Denmark burns more candles per head than any other country in Europe. It is simply very hyggelig to have candles burning!
2. Turn of your phone
In this day and age, it can be really hard to do the obvious and turn off your phone when out with friends or simply relaxing. However turning of your phone will help you be present in the current moment, and will do wonders for your mindfulness. Try it today, turn off your phone for one hour and gradually work your way up in time.
3. Practice gratitude
It’s easy to get caught up in life and to lose awareness of just how lucky you are the have all that you possess in life. Make a habit of writing down what you are grateful for everyday. There are plenty of journals that have this as their specific purpose. It can be as easy as filling it in just before bed, and give you a chance to wind down before falling asleep. Very hyggelig.
4. Indulge that sweet tooth
In Denmark, hygge is all about being kind to yourself and giving yourself that sweet treat. Every kind of sweet is very hyggeligt in Denmark, however cakes are extremely so… I’m not saying you should be eating it for all meals of the day to create hygge – everything in moderation. However spoil yourself every once in a while.
5. Create long-lasting relationships
This is one part of creating a hygge lifestyle that resonates very deeply with me. I truly believe that the quality, or happiness, in our lives is attained through our social relationships. The United Nations seems to agree. In their World Happiness Report, they said, ‘While basic living standards are essential for happiness, after the baseline has been met, happiness varies more with quality of human relationships than income’. I believe you can see the importance of this when comparing the satisfaction people feel when having close relationships with people then without. So treasure all your relationships and put as much effort into them as you can.
6. Create a comfortable living space
As I’m writing this post I am sitting in a very comfortable leather sofa chair. It is very hyggeligt. Some other ways to make your home more hygellig are by having a fireplace, candles, nature, books, blankets and cushions and socks. Never forgot a pair of soft, wool socks!
7. Enjoy good food and preparing good food
Life is too short to eat bad food. I believe that with every fiber of my being! But it’s not just about eating good food, it’s about preparing good food as well. There’s something extra special about eating something that has taken hours to prepare. Whether that’s spending an afternoon baking or perhaps labouring over a slow cooked turkey, like I did last Christmas. Preparing a special meal for yourself and your loved ones can be the best therapy. Try it.
8. Give or receive a hug
Touch releases oxytocin, which makes us feel happy and reduces stress. Sharing a hug with someone can be the simplest form of creating happiness. It helps connect you to those around you. Cuddling pets also has the same effect as cuddling other people. It makes us feel loved and completely safe – all of which are important for creating hygge!
How are you going to create more hygge into your life?