Hygge pronounced hoo-gah, is the Danish art of well being, and is hard to put into words. In fact, there is no direct translation into English for the word hygge, but a few can be used to try to convey the feeling. Coziness, warmth, togetherness, it is a feeling that you get, it wasn’t supposed to be translated. Hence the lack of a word.
Have you ever been out for a walk in the winter, when the air is frosty and damp. Then returned to a warm home for a hot drink and a bite to eat, the feeling that you get, of being safe and warm is hygge. And I’m sure, you’ve enjoyed a cozy evening in, with a group of close friends, relaxing and chatting away. That feeling of closeness, warmth and camaraderie, that is hygge.
There are lots of situations when you can feel hygge. And you’ll know when you do. You’ve probably felt it in the past, as I mentioned above. The great thing is, you can consciously create that feeling. I don’t mean by trying too hard or forcing it, but by adopting a few simple things that you’ll learn about in this book.
That warm fuzzy feeling inside, while relaxing at home or out with a group of close friends that is hygge. Some people say that you can’t hygge alone. And while closeness and camaraderie are considered to be part of hygge, I tend to disagree somewhat. I often feel happy and contented alone, snuggled up reading a book while listening to jazz. It is a feeling not a thing, it can’t be bought in a home interiors catalogue. No matter how much the sales people try to convince you, that you need the expensive special lighting. Or new hygge- licht(hygge like) sofa. That is just another one of the cynical marketing ploys that unfortunately are everywhere these days.
Despite the freezing winter temperatures and lack of sunlight. The Danes are consistently rated as one of the worlds happiest nations. And while a part of this is down to there excellent social system. They pay high taxes, but are rewarded with excellent public services, good healthcare, a benefits system that works. And on average they work 37 hours a week, not to mention the lack of a massive gulf between rich and poor. Which causes so much resentment in other societies. There is no doubt that hygge plays an important part in the happiness of Danish society. In fact it came about to relieve the boredom and drudgery of the harsh danish winters. Meeting up with friends for a warm meal after work, or cozying up at home with loved ones. keeps the positivity flowing. It’s great that the Danes have a word to describe this. But hygge can be used anywhere and at anytime. As the Danish people will tell you. It isn’t just for the winter, It’s a state of mind! We could all use a bit of hygge in our lives. Whether it’s enjoying the outdoors with friends on a hike, having a barbecue, meeting up in a cosy pub for a few drinks. Or having some family members over for dinner. Hygge is something that can be done everyday of the year, bringing flowers home once a week for your partner, having movie nights with your friends, regular time for companionship, rest and relaxation lets hygge our lives people.
In today’s social media and celebrity obsessed world. We could all do with enjoying a few of life’s simple pleasures, and that’s what hygge is all about. I’m not saying that social media is all bad and should never be used, used correctly it is an amazing resource.
I have friends in other countries, who I’ve been able to stay in touch with due to social media. Sometimes it’s easier and more convenient, not to mention cheaper to send someone a message rather than call. It’s also great if you want to meet up with friends, you can just send them a quick message. However while it is an excellent resource when used in the right way. It can also lead to isolation, anxiety and loneliness, some people use social media as their main way of communicating with friends, which isn’t healthy. You can’t have the closeness, or the special bonds that you have through a real life friendship via social media.
I think the younger generations, who have grown up around social media, have a harder time than people of a certain age. We can remember what life was like, before it exploded into the collective consciousness of the world. So Encouraging young people, and people of any age for that matter. To get into sports teams, clubs and community projects. Helps them to get involved in something bigger than themselves, and leads to fuller, happier and more rewarding lives. This is definitely hygge!
The world is waking up to something that the Danes have known for centuries. That hygge is good for the spirit, and can help to keep people connected, even in interesting times.
“May you live in interesting times” is an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is always normally used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times’ of peace and tranquillity are more life-enhancing than interesting ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict.