9 step guide to Hygge – the art of happiness.
Hygge has arrived and everyone seems to be talking about it. It makes Denmark one of the happiest Countries on the planet so its little wonder that we are so interested. There seems to be some speculation about how to pronounce it but everyone agrees it's hard to translate in a single word. I happened to be next door to a Danish man at a recent event who told me Hygge was pronounced 'hooga' and the closest English word was 'cosy'. There were also 8 other words that could contribute to the meaning. Incidentally, he made beautiful pieces from reclaimed wood, something I have learned is very Hygge.
Yes Hygge is very much about making yourself and your environment cosy. It is about sanctuary, connection, simple pleasures, atmosphere and experience.It's hard to describe because it is a feeling. An energy that comes from the heart and is reflected in the environment. It is more than warm blankets, cocoa and fluffy socks, it is about people, simple pleasure and a mind set of sharing and caring. Balancing life between work and play and embracing nature and the natural world.
Hygge is about creating an ambiance of warmth, comfort and safety. This all begins with lighting, which has become an art form in itself in Denmark. The vast majority of Danes will tell you hygge isn't hygge without candles. The light cast from the cosy glow of a candle sets the atmosphere perfectly. Likewise, strategically placed, low output lighting and the flickering warm light from a stove or open fire all produce the atmospheric lighting for hygge.
Try: Lighting candles in the evening and enjoying the relaxing, ambient warm glow.
Hygge is about remaining in the present moment. Turning off the gadgets and being aware of your surroundings. Less about capturing moments and more about living them.
Try: Turning off the phone for a whole day at the weekend and simply stay with the present moment without distractions. Don't be tempted to log onto Facebook or capture anything with your phone.
Heard the saying 'a little of what you fancy does you good?' Hygge is about enjoying the pleasurable things in life. Cake, pastries, cookies and chocolate are favorites of the Danes. Good hearty food with good company.
Try: Schedule in a Hygge evening of indulgence and share the experience with friends. Good food, great conversation and lots of atmosphere.
It's all about us. There is no me, only we. Equality is about equally pulling your weight. Sharing both the work and playtime.
Try: Getting together with friends and each bringing part of the meal. Either ready for the table or for cooking together before sharing together.
Being thankful is a recognized condition for happiness. Hygge is about expressing gratitude for everything you have. Appreciating that this may be as good as it gets and that's something to be thankful for.
Try: Expressing your gratitude to another. Make a point to say thankful to those that deserve it.
Harmony & Truce.
Leave the ego at the door. You like me and I like you this is not a competition. Harmony involves no vying for attention, arguing over politics, bragging or asserting yourself over another. Sometimes there is no need for conversation at all. We are all comfortable enough to sit and drink in the moment in silence.
Try: Enjoying the silence with those you know and love. Sit around the fire or walk in nature just enjoying the moment without chattering away constantly.
Relax and take time out. Get comfortable. The Danes love to get cosy with soft, tactile fabrics, blankets and cushions. Fluffy socks and hot drinks by the fire. Its not all about doing its also about downing tools and getting comfy.
Try: Getting a collection of soft knits, comfy cushions and fluffy socks in a space dedicated to comfort.
The connection of others is the cornerstone of happiness. Building relationships is a key component of Hygge. Creating stories to remember and laugh over later. Sharing experiences and making time for one another. It's not all work, work, work.
Try: Making sure you have time to eat and play together with the people you love at the end of the day.
Home is your sanctuary. A place of peace and calm. Carefully placed items, cosy nooks, favourite books and a roaring fire. Home is somewhere to feel safe and secure.
Try: Creating a sanctuary in your home with some Hygge items. Natural wood, books, tactile accessories, candles, warm lighting, blankets and cushions.