The notion of "Hygge" cannot be literally translated. For the Danes, this concept includes cosiness, comfort, welfare, well-being and refers to the ability of appreciating ordinary pleasures of life and enjoying the moment.
Why has it become so popular around the world and how to let hygge in your life?
According to opinion polls, the Danes are the happiest people in Europe. It has always been like that for the Danes — they love to meet up with friends and their family and often feel a sense of peace and tranquility.
It would seem that the Danes don't have more reasons for joy than other Europeans. The climate in Denmark is not like in paradise, it gets dark early, prices are high, taxes are astronomical, they have to work a lot. However, the Danes have something that residents of other countries don't have: a philosophy of life called "hygge", which consists of a few simple rules.
Today, it is gaining popularity around the world. Journalists travel to Denmark looking for it, one of colleges in the UK has a course of Danish hygge, bakeries, shops and cafes in the style of hygge appear around the world. But how can one create this "hygge" in life? There are no many secrets.
What is hygge and how to achieve it, told the world the author of "Hygge: the secret of Danish happiness" Meik Wiking, a writer, a founder and the director of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. The basic concepts of the author of hygge:
- Instant hygge — candles;
- Intimacy — as a hug, but without touching;
- Food and drinks — a fat relative of slow food;
- Clothing — ease is the most important thing;
- House — cozy details;
- Hygge outside the home — a great space;
- Hygge all year round — not just Christmas;
- Hygge on the cheap — the best things in life come for free;
- Summer hygge — a bicycle and happiness.
Let's take a closer look.
Simple secrets of "Hygge".
1. Create cosiness.
Danish design is considered to be minimal. In the interior the Danes prefer light colors: white, grey, dusty blue. At the same time they pay much attention to lighting, lamps should ideally have a warm amber light, they often use candles (even during the day), and love to decorate their houses with cute details. Candles, lampshades, cushions and blankets, pictures on the walls, shelves with favorite books, pottery — these small things create an atmosphere of cosiness and comfort.
A person who spoils all the fun is, translated from Danish, "the one who blows out the candles".
Decorative elements should not be too extravagant or luxurious. They should rather be pleasing the eye, remaining invisible. Tactile sensations are also important.
The Danes prefer natural materials, which are nice to touch — wood, wool, flax, clay. It is useful to create comfort not only in your house, real hygge creates comfort in the work place/office/workshop, and everywhere else where you spend a lot of time. Try using simple methods to make of your home and office places where you want to go, and you will instantly feel happier. This is something that is really worth time and effort.
We all know that communication with friends and family on social networks will never replace real communication. Meik Wiking found a simple explanation for this fact: "When someone puts a hand on your shoulder, kisses or pats you on the cheek, you are immediately filled with quiet joy. Touching releases oxytocin, which gives us the feeling of happiness and reduces the feeling of stress, fear and anxiety."
Therefore, you can fully feel hygge only in a circle of close people with whom you can relax and be myself. It is better to stay with loved ones at home. It is a great reason to make a tradition of gathering the whole family for Sunday dinner or inviting friends on a Saturday night to play board games? It is better to turn off phones and other gadgets at this period.
This point follows the previous paragraph. Cozy home gatherings mean a tasty treat. And it's not a defrosted pizza or ordered sushi. To feel hygge, you need to learn how to bake delicious pies with cinnamon, cook a stew, spicy mulled wine and hot chocolate (of course this is the favorite menu of the Danes, and you can create your own unique menu).
One of the essential conditions of hygge is to be kind to yourself, pamper yourself and give yourself and others an opportunity to briefly retreat from the principles of a healthy lifestyle. Sweets are hygge. Baking is hygge. Coffee and hot chocolate are too. But carrot sticks are not very hygge.
Another little secret, to cook food in Danish means to enjoy the calmness and all the stages of the process. Choose a recipe from a book, go to a market and buy the best ingredients, bring to cooking other family members, and then all together enjoy the amazing aroma from the oven.
Another secret of hygge is active lifestyle. And it's not gruelling workouts at a fitness club. It is a movement that brings fun, mostly outdoors. Family walks in the mountains, Nordic walking, bicycle tours. Most Danes prefer to go to work by bike. The climate in this country is not the most appropriate, but traffic jams and jostling in public transport is stressful, and a bike is hygge. And everything else is a matter of the right equipment :)
5. Comfortable clothes.
Fortunately, fashion designers, a few seasons ago took hygge on board. Sneakers and loafers instead of heels, cozy oversized coats instead of short jackets, hoodies, warm sweatshirts, soft scarves, long cardigans, slacks, etc.
Of course, clothes ought to be made of natural fabrics which are pleasant to touch. "Danish fashion is simple and elegant and does not require much effort. It combines the best qualities of hygge and a minimalist functional design."
6. Simple pleasures.
The best things in life are given for free. Beauty of the world, laughter of children, smiles of loved ones, a quiet night in with a loved one or with a good book — these are moments of happiness. Appreciate them, not material possessions — this is a secret of happiness and not just "Danish" happiness.
Simplicity and modesty are the main components of hygge. Meik Wking describes this moment: "There is more hygge in a cup of tea than in a glass of champagne, in board games than in a computer, in cooked food than in food from a store. Perhaps, hygge is not profitable for market capitalism, but it is good for personal happiness."
Life cannot be only about work and family chores. It is very important to have a creative activity that brings pleasure, and it does not matter what kind of origami, knitting, pottery, painting with watercolors, making flower compositions. Then there's a bonus: while hands are busy, you can be alone with your thoughts.
8. A sense of proportion.
Hygge celebrates simple pleasures. But it does not mean that it is not necessary to limit yourself. Everything must have a limit — 10 sweet cinnamon rolls are not hygge, it is an eating disorder. Even after the fifth roll the sense of enjoyment is lost. So the Danes spend some time on savoring what they like. For example, a day off. "The sweetness of a forbidden fruit is an integral part of the hygge ritual," — says the author.
9. A secluded spot.
Majority of the Danes have a hyggekrog — a secluded spot in a kitchen or a living room where you can comfortably spend time. Some realtors even list this as an advantage when selling the apartment.
A wide windowsill is ideal for creating such a spot, you can put there lots of soft pillows and blankets. Here you can drink delicious tea in the evenings, watch falling snowflakes, read a book.
For beginners, Meik Wiking advises to start to assemble a "first hygge aid" kit that will help you to relax and to recover mental tone. A candle, some tasty high-quality chocolate, your favorite tea, a book, movie or TV series, jam, a pair of warm woolen socks, a sweater, a nice notepad, a cozy blanket, music, a photo album which you love to flip.
Hygge is rather a state, and all of these tips will only contribute to its achievement.
Well, have you already decided to let hygge in your life? ;)
I wish you happiness and Harmony!
A fan of hygge, Lena Lee :)