What the heck is Hygge?
Hygge is the Danish Art of Happiness! (Hygge is pronounced HOO-GA.) What does it mean? It’s a feeling of warmth, togetherness, and well being. Doesn’t that sound lovely?!
This week, I read the book, “The Little Book of Hygge Danish Secrets to Happy Living.” Because, yes, we all want to live a happy life, right? Since Denmark is considered one of the happiest countries on Earth, I figured they knew a thing or two about the happiness department.
The Danish could be happy because they have free health care, free university education, and an average of 5 weeks of vacation a year. (Want to move to Denmark now? LOL. Me too!) But there is something special that they’ve got going on in Denmark. Hygge is a way of living that is good for the soul.
Here’s what I learned about Hygge:
- Hygge is all about the atmosphere. Hygge is very much about being warm and cozy. Lighting is incredibly important. The Danish love candles, lamps, and fireplaces to create a soft, comfortable feeling.
- Hygge is about togetherness. Here’s one of my favorite descriptions of togetherness from the book, “Time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, comfortable, snug, and welcoming. In many ways, it is like a good hug, but without the physical contact. It is in this situation that you can be completely relaxed and yourself. The art of hygge is therefore also the art of expanding your comfort zone to include other people.” (pg.39) The Danish have small groups, usually 3 to 4 tight-knit friends, that hang out together often. The Danish love to relax and enjoy each others’ company at home. They spend time doing things like cooking or playing board games together.
- Hygge is seeking pleasure from food, especially sweets. The Danish love cake, chocolate, and other sweets. (I can definitely get behind this happiness hack!) Hot drinks such as coffee and tea are also very hygge (warm and comforting).
- Hygge is casual. Casual atmosphere and casual clothing. The temperature in Denmark is usually between 32˚F and 60˚F. (source: www.visitdenmark.com) Because of the mild weather, they’re into sweaters, scarves, and wool socks. All warm and cozy clothing.
- Every home has a Hyggerkrog. This is like a little reading nook. This is a place where you can relax and unwind. It usually contains a comfy couch or chair near the window where you can snuggle up with some tea and a good book. All the while, you are surrounded by comfy pillows and blankets. Very cozy. (This sounds like a little slice of heaven to me!)
- Nature is very important to hygge. Whether it’s being in nature, or having nature-like decor in your home (think wood and animal furs), the Danish like to surround themselves with the outdoors.
Hygge at Home
Consider taking an idea or two from the happiest country in the world. Find a way to practice hygge in your home. How can you too can create that feeling of warmth, love, and coziness to your life?
Quote from: Wiking, Meik. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Thorndike Press, a Part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017.