Why We All Need Hygge In Our Lives
The secret to Danish happiness
As the cold nights draw in, we find ourselves feeling an urge to light a fire, curl up under a blanket and hibernate. What we really need is to acquaint ourselves with the Danish concept of Hygge.
Hygge (pronounced hooga) doesn’t directly translate into English. A long time ago, it could be translated as ‘well-being’, but it’s developed into much more than that.
It’s a concept that’s all about making things soft, cozy and comfortable, sort of like the embodiment of a warm fuzzy feeling.
It’s something that’s supposed to be felt, not defined. Hygge is something that’s unique to Denmark, and permeates many parts of their culture.
Anything can be hygge. It’s when you’re by the fire with a good book, or when it’s raining outside and you’re inside with a cup of coffee. When you’re eating with friends and family, that’s hygge as well. It’s the nights where you’re together with the ones you love and talking for hours. It’s bread fresh from the bakery, or a warm scarf. Ordinary things made to feel special.
Christmas is the season that most embodies hygge. Danish winters are long and cold, so they make things feel warmer with candles, hot drinks and cosiness. Seasonal decoration in Denmark focuses on low lighting and warm colours to create this feeling of hygge. It’s a very flexible word, but one that’s also specific about some things. Hygge isn’t about possessions, it’s about experiences. It’s a certain kind of contentment that only friends and family can bring.
We all could definitely use something like hygge. A sense of taking the time to slow down and appreciate togetherness in a place that’s entirely welcoming. Hygge exists everywhere, but in Denmark it is made a priority. There’s no effort involved, as it’s just a valuable part of daily life.
In our fast-paced lifestyle, this is what we need to focus on. We need to allow ourselves to slow down, get together with friends in a simple environment and allow ourselves to feel warm and loved. This Christmas, instead of worrying too much about how many desserts you’re going to serve at your Christmas party, stop for a minute and sit with your mulled wine. Think about the season, and the people that you love who are all out spreading joy. Think about the twinkling lights on the dark streets, and the smell of a real Christmas tree. Appreciate Christmas Eve, when everything feels electric and special. That’s hygge.
The Danish Tourist website suggests that hygge is the reason that Denmark routinely tops the leaderboards in average happiness. The importance that is put upon creating a lovely warm environment in which to be whilst connecting with loved ones is key to this. The simple things in life are considered the most enjoyable. There’s nothing more important that being grateful and appreciating those little things.