If I had to make a solid prediction for 2019, it’s that we are going to start seeing this word everywhere. Hygge was brought to my attention over Friendsgiving when my friend Rae referred to our home as “being very hygge”– to which I looked at her so incredibly confused and asked “what’s hygge?” This was the beginning of my new fascination.
First off, hygge is a Danish term and people debate about the pronunciation. I’ve heard hygge pronounced everything from “HOO-GA” to “HUE-UGH.” Hygge is best described as a feeling– a coziness, a comfort, an intimacy… all the things that I love. So, I picked up the book The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking because I just had to learn more. Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (is it too late to go back to school and change my major?)
Research has proven that Danes are the happiest people in the world and they also have the happiest workplaces. “Danes are aware of the decoupling between wealth and wellbeing. After our basic needs are met, more money doesn’t lead to more happiness and, instead, Danes are good at focusing on what brings them a better quality of life.” I love the sound of this.
Even though I may be late to the party when it comes to this raging trend of ‘hygge’, I’d like to say that it’s better late than never. Below I have rounded up a few ways to bring more ‘hygge’ to our everyday lives. Enjoy!
More specifically, light in the form of candles. According to research Danes burn more candles per person than anywhere else in the world– about 13 pounds of candle wax, per person, each year. Danes don’t just burn candles in their homes, they burn them in classrooms and in their workplaces too. They associate candles with an emotional happiness, an emotional coziness. Turn down the lights, light a few candles and you’ll find yourself immediately in a hyggelig(t) (hygge-like) atmosphere.
Be in the now. Socialize with people that you love and care for. In all of the research that Meik has conducted in the field of happiness research, he has found that the surest predictor of if we are happy or not is based upon our social relationships. Hygge is possible on our own, but it mostly happens in small groups of family or close friends. Hygge happens in situations where there is a lot of relaxed thoughtfulness– nobody takes center stage or dominates the conversation, everybody helps to prepare the meal and helps to clean up afterwards. “Time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down to earth, comfortable, snug and welcoming.” The art of hygge is also the art of expanding our comfort zones to include others.
Baking at home, sipping a warm drink, etc. Hot drinks are what 86% of Danes associate with hygge. Danes favorite hot drink is coffee. Meik conducted research to find out what Danes most associate with hygge and he found the top five to be; hot drinks, candles, fireplaces, Christmas, and board games.
Link purchases with good experiences. Save your money so that when the time is right you can purchase your item, but be sure to link that purchase with a good memory, achievement or experience. Meik talks about purchasing a chair that he had wanted for a long time, but he waited until he published his first book to purchase the chair. I always knew there was a reason that I couldn’t make purchases when the sales associates weren’t kind and welcoming, I just never knew there was a word, or proven concept behind why.
Take in all the moments with the frame of mind that this may be as good as it gets. Of course, dream and plan for the future– but, recognize the moment as it is.
Get comfy. Take a break. Relax. Own cozy clothing, warm blankets, fuzzy socks. When it’s time to relax, make it your full on mission to relax and let yourself be fully in that moment. Just as when its time to work, work with all that you have.
Our home is our hygge headquarter. Home is contral to social life in Denmark– which is very different than a lot of other places around the world. 7/10 Danes say that they experience the most hygge at home. Incorporate the following to experience more hygge at home: a “hyggekrog”– a cozy nook, candles, a fireplace, nature, things made out of wood, vintage items, books, blankets and pillows.
I am not sure if simplicity is a part of hygge, but I feel like it should be. I have been very adamant when choosing the decor and furniture for our home to keep it simple, light and airy. I don’t want anything to be overwhelming or overcrowded. I have always been very sensitive to my environment– a messy house for me is a messy, scattered mind. Am I the only one who is like this? Literally, if my bed is made and my room is organized I feel like I can take on anything and think more clearly.
All of this to say, hygge is a way of life that I want to continue to focus on bringing into our lives.
‘hygge’, issa mood. xo, G