The word hygge tends to get associated with a lot of things.
Hygge socks, hygge blankets, hygge sweaters…well, you get the idea.
But have you ever wondered exactly what hygge is, or what it means to live a hygge lifestyle?
Read on to find out all about hygge and how to pronounce it (hint: it doesn’t rhyme with jiggy), along with tips on how you can live a more hygge life.
- Hygge is not something you can buy at a shop
- You already know how to do it
But first things first…
What does Hygge mean?
Hygge – pronounced hue-gah – (rhymes with cougar) is a Danish/Norwegian word that isn’t always easy to describe. Mainly because hygge is more of an atmosphere or feeling than a thing.
It’s a cosiness feeling. A friendliness or fellowship feeling.
It’s a feeling of contentment and well-being that comes from being present and enjoying the moment with friends and family.
You know that feeling when you’re settling in with a cup of tea or coffee to catch up with a friend? No distractions. No looking at phones or tv. Just sitting and chatting and enjoying each others company. That’s hygge.
Or when you’re sitting around the dinner table with your family. The food doesn’t have to be special or elaborate. You don’t need to be using your “best” crockery. But it feels special. Because you’re not thinking about anything else. You’re enjoying the moment. That’s hygge too.
You can have hygge moments on your own as well.
Cosy, unrushed moments with books, and tea, where you are enjoying your own company.
Why is Hygge so popular?
So why all the interest in hygge?
Why would you even want to live a hygge lifestyle?
The interest in hygge right now has a lot to do with the fact that Denmark (arguably the home of hygge) consistently tops the tables of the world’s happiest countries.
Meik Viking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen explored the link between happiness and hygge in his book “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well“.
I think hygge and happiness might be linked, as hygge may be the pursuit of everyday happiness and some of the key components of hygge are drivers of happiness.– Meik Viking
There is a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in the world right now. It’s also a time where so many of us are feeling busy, rushed and frazzled.
We’re looking for ways to slow down, feel calmer, and bring more moments of happiness into our lives.
Hygge is all about finding special moments in the everyday.
When you practise a hygge lifestyle you will get a happiness boost. That’s got to be a great thing, right?
It’s no surprise that people are especially drawn to the concept of a hygge lifestyle in the cooler months. And in the northern hemisphere, Christmas is definitely the most hygge time of year.
However, living a hygge lifestyle doesn’t need to, and in fact, shouldn’t be limited to the cooler months. You can experience hygge all year round, even in the spring and summer.
It’s also very hygge to curl up with a book. There’s even a word for it – hyggeloesning (hygge-reading) – reading as part of a hygge moment.
8 Elements of a Hygge Lifestyle
Despite what manufacturers of cosy socks and fluffy throws would have us believe, you can’t buy hygge in a shop (except, perhaps when it come to buying a candle or two…)
One of the best ways to experience hygge is to stop rushing, slow down, and appreciate the moment you are in. Kind of like mindfulness.
But there are plenty of other ways you can add hygge to your life.
1. Embrace the seasons
Every season has something to love. Embrace the current season (yes, even winter!). Don’t wish away the present for some other time in the future. Make the most of the good things that are happening now.
2. Get out in nature
Many studies have shown that time spent outdoors will improve your health and well-being, and when you combine the outdoors with exercise you double-up the benefits.
When you exercise in nature you’ll boost your energy levels, improve mental health, decrease stress, and top up your vitamin D.
3. Bring nature indoors
Having plants inside will boost your health and well-being too.
Plants indoors will create cleaner air, boost your mood and enhance concentration and memory.
4. Appreciate simplicity
Simplicity is at the heart of hygge.
When it comes to creating a hygge home, Signe Johansen, in her book How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living, sums it up beautifully
The main thing is to keep it simple, and create a space in which you feel calm and a sense of contentment, one you can share with friends and family.– Signe Johansen
In your home, think stylish but not ostentatious. Focus on practical, functional, clean, tidy, light and fresh.
Your home should make you feel calm and content.
If you are surrounded by clutter and random things that have accumulated over time that hold no meaning for you, you’re unlikely to feel either calm or content.
5. Utilize different types of lighting
Use several small light sources in various rather than one bright light to create a calm, relaxed mood.
Candles create both a calming, warm light and bring a feeling of cosiness to any space, indoors or out.
6. Practise balance
Moments of everyday indulgence are part of hygge.
And while guilt and denial have no place hygge lifestyle, neither does overdoing it.
Enjoy everything in moderation; “a little bit of what you fancy”. This is lagom, the Swedish concept of “just enough” or “just right.”
You can apply the principle of lagom to pretty much all areas of your life for a balanced way of living.
7. Enjoy eating around the table
Whether it’s for a meal you’ve prepared together, or coffee and cake. At home, at work, or at a coffee shop, sitting around a table, sharing laughs, food and conversation with others is one of the best ways to experience a hygge moment while at the same time building connections with friends and family and colleagues.
8. Be kind
Above all, to live a life of hygge requires kindness: kindness to ourselves in the everyday acts that bring contentedness and pleasure, and kindness to others in a spirit of kinship and conviviality.Signe Johansen, How to Hygge
So there you have it – 8 simple ways that you can start living a hygge lifestyle and bring more happiness into your everyday.
Do you want to add more hygge to your life? Which ones will you try?