Hygge – the art of living comfortably

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As I write this I am snuggled in a cosy blanket, surrounded by glowing candles and sipping a decent cup of coffee.  It is cold, grey and raining outside the window next to me – yet I feel happy cosy and content. In fact some of the best times I can remember are from a very similar setting. Why? Well it turns out there is a reason behind it. Hygge. The Danish art of living well.

When myself and Dani aren’t out exploring a new hidden cove or hiking a trail we love nothing more than chilling out in our slouchy hoodies with a hot cup of something, preferably in front of a roaring fire. Recently I found myself wondering why I love to do that so often, and the reasons why it makes me feel so comfortable and contented.

This is probably because I also found out that to my surprise I’m actually a third Scandinavian by DNA. Not really what I expected to be. This prompted me to take a little look into my life and the things I enjoy and that if those things we’re at all Scandinavian. Turns out they are.

 

So what is Hygge?

Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word hygge (sounds a bit like “hooga”) roughly translates to coziness, but that definition doesn’t quite cover it. Meik Wiking from theHappiness Research Institute has this to say about 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. – Meik Wiking, The Happiness Research Institute

In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And then there is the food. Good food is very hygge.

 

The Hygge Manifesto

It’s no wonder that the Danes are voted the happiest people in the world multiple years running. With hygge being a vital and major part of their lifestyle and day-to-day living. But what about creating hygge if you’re not in a beautiful cosy cabin in the Norwegian mountains or a swanky apartment in Copenhagen? What do you need to create those hygge moments? We have gathered together the ten things to help make your chill time more hyggeligt.

Atmosphere
Turn down the lights. Put on a few candles and some lower ambient lights instead of one bright overhead light.

Presence
Be in the moment. Turn off your phone, tablet and television.

Pleasure
Coffee, chocolate, cookies and cakes. Treat yourself.

Equality
‘We’ over ‘me’. Share things out. Don’t be greedy.

Gratitude
Take it all in. You never know, this may be as good as it gets.

Harmony
Hygee is not a competition. There is no need to brag. Just appreciate the things you have.

Comfort
Get comfy. Take a break. It is all about relaxing.

Truce
No drama, no one really wants to talk about politics, so leave that for another time.

Togetherness
Build strong relationships and narratives. Reminisce with your friends.

Shelter
This is your space. Own it. Be at peace and feel secure.

 

Want to know more?

Why not find out more about hygge by reading this delightful book by Meik Wiking. 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.

You can buy the book from most good book retailers in the UK or on Amazon. Happy reading and happy hygge-ing.

Nick Lewis