Sitting still is lazy isn’t it? — Dispelling the myths of our own made up beliefs
This blog explains why I believe embracing the ‘Hygge’ lifestyle could be the way forward.
‘I haven’t got time to sit still!’ I find my internal narrative saying as I try to catch my breath and take a few moments to connect after another busy week. ‘Stop being so lazy and just crack on with the next task!’ Sound familiar?
It’s amazing the rules we set ourselves that after a while of repetition they become our beliefs. They’re normally paired up with that tight feeling in your chest, the hunched shoulders and a immense sense of relief as one thing is ticked off the to do list and then very quickly replaced by a sense of dread as three or four more items are added in.
Another example is the traffic jam — how many of us get so infuriated when we are stuck in a jam that will make us late, or interfere with our plans — we get so cross and just wind ourselves us — yet surely there must be another way to connect with these moments of time.
So what is it about the Danes that they do so well with these situations yet we find so hard to grasp as a concept? Let me introduce you to Hygge.
Hygge certainly isn’t a new concept — it’s been around for many years and yet so many of us a) haven’t heard of it or b) wouldn’t know what it is or how to engage in it.
So what better way for me to learn about Hygge that meeting a very lovely Danish lady called Mette Theilmann. As Mette explains Hygge is one of the reasons why the Danes are so happy as Hygge promotes health and wellbeing, enabling us to connect to the present moment.
We met up on a cold, rainy and windy day to discuss all things Hygge and happiness and why creating the right environment is key to simplicity, connection and individuality. So this blog shares some insights into the made up belief I had that sitting still was lazy and how I may well have been engaging in a hyggliht lifestyle from time to time without even realising it!
You are your own person with your own choices to make
What I learnt from my conversation with Mette is that Hygge is your own thing — you might want space to enable you to connect with your own thoughts or you might want togetherness and the flow of good conversation and being with others. The key is to choose what works for you and enables the feeling of calm and harmony — ultimately you need to find your path to being with Hygge. For me I love this opportunity to allow individuality to flow and make your own choice. Like many practices — yoga, mindfulness, gratitude — Hygge is something you need to work at and practice and most importantly want to engage in — as Mette rightly pointed out — “If you don’t own it don’t do it”.
You can’t do Hygge on the go — which brings me back to the opening sentence of this blog — it’s about pressing pause on life’s daily grind and just connecting with yourself and engaging in an activity which makes you feel calm, happy and content. Lighting a fire or a candle, sitting down with a good book, or a friend and having a lovely conversation or even baking (I know that would be my thing) This is where I see the connection with mindfulness in that the practice suggests it’s about connecting with the present moment — free from judgement, or stress and just enjoying the environment you’re in.
Into the light
Light is also an important part of the Hygge concept — choosing one candle or lamp that shines bright and draws its attention. It signifies connection as light helps to make Hygge intentional — it creates the atmostphere. The thought of sitting round a huge table with all my family as we share good food, conversation and laughter would be a perfect Hygge moment for me — and Mette shared a similar experience about Christmas Eve and how the candle would be the focal point of the table.
Name it — connect with the opportunity
The opportunity to embrace Hygge is everywhere — like many things in life we overlook — we just need to pause once in a while and indeed look for it — It’s time to open our eyes and be awakened to our other senses too — to form this incredible connection with the universe and the moment in time.
After all — we get to create the opportunities and experiences we have and Hygge is a great example of how we can control a situation and make it our own.
To Hygge as I understand from Mette enables you to set your intention for the moment — to channel the connection. To grab a steaming hot mug of tea or coffee, grab a blanket and a cosy chair and embrace the moment. In fact it was at this point as we chatted that we both found ourselves in the moment, grabbing our scarves and wrapping them round us as we sat overlooking the lake we had just walked around. I named what I saw happening — two people sat feeling cosy and totally connected in the rich conversation — which again is another typical Hygge trait — naming it. It really was a perfect Hygge moment.
Makes the unbearable bearable
Hygge encourages you to see every moment in time is an opportunity to create memories and turn any potentially difficult or challenging situation into something positive. Like those traffic jam moments or when you don’t get the job you went for or when you’ve planned a picnic and then it’s raining — there’s always a chance to gain something different from the alternative perspective you could embrace.
Again, for me this is where I see gratitude fits in although I feel with gratitude we reflect back on something which has happened where as Hygge captures the essence of the moments actually in the present moment.
So what would be Mette’s top tips for trying out Hygge?
1. De clutter
We need space to think and be connected. So go into your home, breathe, stop and notice what do you feel — are you connected?
· Do you feel it’s your space to own? Or is it cluttered?
· Is it dark and cold and needs more light?
· Do you like the things you have in this room?
· Do the pictures make you happy?
· What is the focal point of the room?
Now repeat this in all the rooms.
2. Create your own environment
Create the moments and name it. Choose nice things and get rid of negative energy — it’s not just a candle that should be in the room — it’s THE candle you want. The chair that feels comfortable and the light that you feel drawn to. Less is better and creates simplicity.
3. Take your time and practice it
Don’t expect it to be right first time and especially if the thought of sitting down doing nothing terrifies you or feels unnatural. Choose what feels right for your Hygge experience — whether that be connecting with others or sitting down quietly on your own with a book.
4. Self Hygge
Take time to notice what you need for you and make it your own. Try out some practices where you can just be on your own and feel comfortable with being still and feeling relaxed.
I really felt that meeting with Mette was a chance for me to recognise that I’m not lazy when I take those moments to sit still and just breathe. That cozying up on the sofa with a good book and my favourite candle on isn’t self indulgent yet a way of life which could serve my mental and physical health better in the long term. A self worth practice where I can rest and recharge — after all how often do we plug our electronic devices such as our phones, laptops etc into recharge without giving it a second thought.
So I encourage you to embrace Hygge and see how you could make it work for you — after all individuality is key.
Happy Hygging everyone.
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