Pronounced “hoo-gah”, hygge is a Danish word to describe the warm and fuzzy feeling we get in cozy atmospheres and while enjoying the simple things in life. It epitomizes what stressed out people are constantly striving for: contentment, relaxation, and well-being.
This positive attitude might be why the Danes are some of the happiest people on the planet.
I decided to look deeply into hygge so that I can find out how to adopt this into my own life. Here is what I found.
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The Origins of Hygge
According to VisitDenmark, the word’s root is in old Norwegian, appearing in Danish by the 18th century.
The New Yorker goes further, explaining its Norwegian origins are 16th century from the word “hugga”. This can be translated to “comfort”, “console”, or compared to the English word “hug”.
If you Google Translate hygge today, the app brings up the word “fun”.
Nevertheless, the Danes embraced this concept and have been using it for everything.
Hygge is a Mood
It’s a word that can’t be defined because it’s used to encompass a feeling.
I can’t tell you how to hygge, the same way I can’t tell you how to be happy. BUT if you’re aware of what it represents, then you should be able to slow down and acknowledge when you’ve found it (if that makes any sense). It’s intangible.
If you Google how to hygge online, you get a lot of information about cozy atmospheres and togetherness. Images of warmth, fireplaces, blankets, coffee, candles, etc. It is a way of living that highlights intimacy. This can be done in social settings with a group of friends, at home curled up with a book and candle, or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning.
It seems to fit better during the freezing cold winter months, however, hygge can occur during any season. Considering that Denmark has harsh winters and very little sunlight during these months, it’s no surprise they’ve embraced a calm and cozy attitude towards life.
To summarize hygge, would be slowing down, relaxing in cozy environments and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
Tips to Master the Art of Hygge
Warm aromas and flickering lights, candles create an ambiance perfect for hygge. This Bookstore scented candle from Frostbeard Studio is the perfect fragrance for creating a cozy atmosphere.
2. Connect with Nature
Take a slow walk through a park, enjoy the smell of flowers and grass, the sound of birds, and other people. You can also bring nature indoors with some natural decor.
3. Dim your Lights
Refrain from using bright overhead lights in the evening. Instead, use table lamps which create warmer lighting in a room. Most coffee shops and a lot of restaurants create this feeling as well. Use patio lighting outdoors or fairy lights to create a cozy bedroom.
4. Throw blankets
Big, warm blankets seem to be a must when mastering the art of hygge. Throw blankets are a perfect example of cozy and relaxed. Check out this large arm knitted blankets for ideas!
Returning to your childhood can be a form of hygge. Cozy up and watch a favourite childhood film, cook a meal your mother used to make, or listen to some old bands.
6. Hot Drinks
Take out your favourite hot cup, set the kettle and make yourself a cup of coffee or hot tea. Take this time to slowly sip your hot drink and relax in the warmth of your home. Enjoy a hot drink with friends in an intimate coffee shop and enjoy the conversation. These small cups with hand-knitted sweaters are definitely the art of hygge.
7. Gather Company
I large part of hygge is togetherness. The idea is to enjoy the comfort of company in a quiet, intimate environment. The perfect way to do this is around a campfire, game night, a warm meal, and good conversation.
8. Comfortable Clothing
Relax in comfort in loose clothing that is made for lounging. During the cold winter, months choose large sweaters, scarves and warm cozy socks. In the summer months wear loose blouses and airy pants.
Since hygge is the art of togetherness, it only makes sense to occasionally disconnect from technology. Enjoy the present moment and experiences shared alone or with others.
10. Slow Down
Lastly, it is about slowing down for well-being. Unwind with your warm blanket, a cup of lemon tea and a good book. Reflect on your day and take a moment to breathe.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Danish art of Hygge, check out The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Synopsis retrieved from Goodreads.com.
“Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge.
‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’
You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.
Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.
Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.”
Do you feel hygge in your daily life? For me, it’s the morning with my cup a joe. Share yours in the comments below!