Hygge: (pronounced hoo-ga), “the art of creating intimacy” or “coziness of the soul” perhaps “the absence of annoyance” or even “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things.”
However you want to define this or even pronounce it (hooga, hhyooguh, herrguh), I find that this coziness approach to life from the Danish is pretty darn amazing.
I’ve been reading and slowing practicing some of these cornerstones into our lifestyle. If the Danes can be happy (and they are sometimes known as the famously happiest people in the world), why can’t we try this?
Surely this could be a good approach to handling anxiety, stress, and life with PTSD?
Surely this could be something that would help us relax?
Well, being the reader and researcher that I am, I wanted to know more. I wanted to adopt this lifestyle and honestly, adopt it in hopes that creating comfort and coziness could help us after long, draining days.
Let’s go back to the actual word hygge for a minute.
Hygge originated from the Norwegians. A word meaning “well-being,” hygge appeared written in Danish for the first time in the early 1800s. The link between hygge and well-being or happiness may be no coincidence.
According to the European Social Survey, the Danes are the happiest people in Europe. As the survey also stated they are the ones who meet most often with their friends and family and feel the calmest and most peaceful.
I could get down with that.
While we are always on the go and so busy, down time is just as important to our well-being. Drinking coffee in the early hours of the quiet morning, surrounding yourself with good people and the ones who love you no matter what, relaxing with a cozy blanket, in the quiet, during an “electronic free” evening…yep, sounds good to me.
So, how does this work? Well, there are a few components that one needs to start hygge.
- Atmosphere. This could be lighting in your home. The Danish burn candles at an amazing rate and credit the lighting and mood to the key component of atmosphere in establishing hygge.
- Presence. Be in the moment. Turn off the phone. Establishing your presence is also key. Really enjoy being with the ones you love without the glow of a screen.
- Pleasure. Treat yourself! Chocolates, cakes, cookies…you see where I’m going with this?
- Equality. “We” over “me.” This means that you share your time. While it is nice to have some downtime and alone time, part of hygge is surrounding yourself with those you love.
- Gratitude. Take it all in. This could be as good as it gets, a night in with some candles and sweet treats, comfy blankets, and laughter filling your home. Be appreciative of the time you have with the ones you love.
- Harmony. It’s not a competition, everyone likes you for you. Try to find peace and be calm.
- Comfort. Get comfy. Take a break. Remember, its all about relaxation.
- Truce. No drama. Discuss those stressful things another day. Be at ease with no political drama, no social media drama, and just simply enjoy the ones around you.
- Togetherness. Build relationships and narratives (stories). “Do you remember…” I love this one.
- Shelter. This is your tribe. Your people. Your home is the place of peace and security.
Do you feel like running and grabbing some chocolates, coffees, and blankets now?
I think these components of hygge are like a hug, but without touching. Can we really close our eyes and think about the last time we were really happy? Can you find balance with your work and home life?
So, here at the Hoekstra house, we are into hygge. We are going to start practicing some presence and comfort. Being with other people is a key part of hygge, but we have to be able to separate from social media and the constant “go, go, go” of our lives. I think we could take note from the Danish and learn from hygge. It might be hard to adapt a few changes, but it might be worth the change to feel the comfort and love.