Hygge – Be Happy Forever From Now On
Have you ever experienced the warm feeling of coziness and relaxation during Christmas time? Can you churn up the lovely feeling of drinking a hot marshmallow chocolate and hearing the wood crackling in the fireplace? Can you bring back to mind the atmosphere that could have been felt when the snowflakes were slowly falling outside the window whilst wafting in the scent of freshly baked cookies? The blanket was soft. The people were happy, and the evening was calm You feel nothing but joy.
This feeling has a name for itself. And it doesn’t only refer to the Christmas feeling. It is known as hygge. Recently, the word has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. The definition explains hygge is a a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
But actually, there is no perfect definition for hygge. Hygge is a feeling.
It is like trying to describe in other words what happiness or anger is.
You could write volumes about happiness or anger. But you will never properly define the word. Not so simple, right?
It is hygge that probably makes Danes one of the happiest nation on Earth. Only second to Norway. This is based on the World Happiness Report 2016 Ranking. By contrast, the USA ranks only on the 13th place. While the UK struggled even more. The Brits can be found on the 23rd place.
So is it that Danes actually do in order to keep their calm marvelous atmosphere? What is the tranquil feeling in their lives all year long? What can we learn from the happiest people on earth?
Let’s take a closer look at what hygge really means. Let us see how we can incorporate it in our daily life. Here is the list of 5 rules of hygge rules. We have put them in the order from the least to the most crucial ones.
GOLDEN RULES OF HYGGE
More than enough
Home, sweet home.
And so think the Danes! Home is an essential place for every one of us. However, the Danes attach huge importance to what the home looks like and what takes place there. Danish families tend to spend evenings together, having left the worries at work. Eating dinner together is not only a one-day-a-year event – it takes place every day, if possible. That’s why home must be a comfortable place where everybody… feels at home.
The Danish hygge design concept makes it easy: keep it simple!
Danes are the ones who believe that warm, calm colors such as beige, white, brown, subdued green, can create a peaceful atmosphere. It is also, the wooden, sometimes old-fashioned, furniture adds a bit of warmth to the room and creates wonderful, harmonious vibes.
Sleep is the best meditation, said Dalai Lama. Hygge fits in perfectly.
The most significant furniture in a Danish home is a bed. It must be luxurious and – most importantly – HUGE. The bed is the perfect place to drink a morning coffee. And how about eating Sunday breakfast? Perhaps it is the best moment to read a newspaper?
But not so fast!!!
A bed without fluffy blankets and a pile of pillows is not hygge at all!
Create a hyggekrog – a small, cozy place, your own nook where you can relax. Aloof from fuss and noise. It may be your favorite armchair next to the window. This is where you can sit all evening long – reading a book or admiring the view of the night city. That’s probably why Danish people don’t use curtains at all – you can always approach the window and marvel at the sky.
Bundle up in your blanket and just enjoy sweet the moment!
Last but not least – the light.
Ella Baker said, “Give light and people will find the way”. What light do Danes use to find the way to happiness?
Light is the main factor that impacts the atmosphere of a room. In fact, light is what creates positive emotions. It should be at the low end of the temperature scale. Hygge is created by warm, diffused light.
The Danes don’t need to have a special occasion to light multiple of candles – they don’t have to be taking a hot bath either! In point of fact, candles are their daily-use products and can be seen in any house or cafe. That is the reason why Denmark uses twice as much candle wax as number 2. in Europe (Austria). 28% of Danes light candles daily – even during breakfast. Fireplaces are not an option but a necessity. No wonder there is a crackling fire all lit up which creates the awesome feeling of security and calmness. It is for the evolutionary reason. It has been proven that sitting by a fireplace reduces blood pressure.
But what in the house design is so important, that it makes the Danes the happiest nation on Earth?
Well, it is a huge part of hygge and a typical Danish lifestyle, a part of their culture. Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge and the CEO of Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, even calls it a part of Danish national DNA.
But hygge is something way more and it’s not about consumerism. Because, let’s admit it, just a house is not a home yet, is it?
Take it easy.
What are the two things that Danish people are best at? Relaxing and socializing! These to go perfectly together when it comes to hygge. In Denmark, you can find various cafes on every side walk. You are always made to feel welcome. The soft jazz music and sparkling light of scented candles, make sure of that. A cafeteria can be actually a home from home for Danes. Meeting for a cup of tea or coffee is what they call hygge.
Hygge is also about taking a break from worries, work, and demands. It means a break from your regular diet! Danes eat a lot of cakes, cookies, and sweets in general. You cannot enjoy calm and peace if you are constantly thinking about money. Certainly not if you constantly compare yourself to others? Switch off and appreciate the moment! Carpediem! Have fun with your close friends and family. Once the moment is grasped nothing more matters!
Embrace the Moment
Hygge is not about consumerism. If you enter a particularly expensive café, you can say Let’s find a place that is more hygge, which will mean Let’s find a cheaper place. The best cafeterias are the ones with cozy couches and cottony blankets. Soft cushions are a must and – of course – loads of candles. And there, surprisingly, you won’t overpay. What’s interesting is that sometimes you are also connected to a library. In a Hygge place, you can borrow a book and read it in a soothing atmosphere. Believe it or not, the Danes create Hygge places even in laundries. Whilst you wait for your clothes to be washed, you are offered a hot chocolate with double whipped cream. What can you think of doing better in a bitterly cold winter?
Spoil yourself and enjoy small joys!
Lazy activities are what hyggelygs like most – but it doesn’t mean that Danes are inactive! Actually, Denmark is also a cycling nation. Everybody has his own bike here. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are. Cycling is regardless of age. But it’s not only about saving the environment – there’s also a close link with Danish history. Most Danes associate bicycles with freedom – nothing better than a lonely ride with a mind full of your own thoughts!
Cycling is liberating.
And what is the worst enemy of Hygge? Comparison! Comparing yourself to others deactivates hygge from your life. That is why even some politicians and famous personalities use bicycles instead of luxurious cars.
Don’t take healthy lifestyle to extremes!
Danes don’t hit the gym as much as the rest of the world. They prefer to surround themselves with nature – exercising in a park, cycling or just having a long evening walk. Passive exercise is obviously more calming and satisfying not only for the body… but also for the soul. Eating a piece of chocolate cake or going out for a beer with friends from time to time won’t do any harm. However, it is the best medicine to relieve all your stress!
There is no cow on the ice – ingen ko på isen
This Danish proverb means “there is no cause for concern”. Don’t overthink and dwell on the past. Take advantage of what live gives you and…
…and enjoy little things!
That’s the secret of the happiest people existing – savoring simple, tiny pleasures.
It can be a lazy Saturday activity. You may be watching your favorite French drama in the evening, eating homemade food. The baking scent is still hanging in the air. And what about a short nap in the middle of the day? The bottom line is that have no idea how happy you can get by just noticing the tiny things that make such a huge difference.
Isn’t it how the children think? If you search the whole wide world, you will not find a happier person, than a happy child.
As I said before – There’s no place like home – but it doesn’t mean you should not go out. Besides home and cafes, Danes spend most of their time outside. Research shows that nature is not only an awesome stress-reliever but also improves our mood and calms us down. It also improves our cognitive performance. So it’s easy to go back to studying or working after having recovered.
The small things that make us happy can also be handcraft. DIY presents are cheap and unique – nothing more hygge than that!
In other words, hygge is just being kind to yourself (and others) instead of always feeling not enough. The thing is, you don’t have to! That is not what life is all about.
Let’s be together
A crowd is not a company – Danish Proverb
There is no bigger value in life than a family for an average Dane. The hygge food, design, cafes and candles are a great part of hygge lifestyle. However, the main core of it is to enjoy the moment with people who mean most to you. Danes are also open for friendships – they are known for their honesty (“Act honestly, and answer boldly”) – but don’t let anyone in their lives too quickly. A couple of important people in anybody’s life is enough. Real friends can be counted on one hand. That is why sometimes, hygge is called socializing for introverts.
Spending time together includes not only dinners at the table, but also putting your phone away from time to time and enjoying the simple conversation.
More than enough
And here we are back to square one. Why do we feel so calm and relaxed during Christmas time? It is because we are usually surrounded by family. And also with good music. We take a break from demands by eating tons of delicious food. We light candles and hear the fire crackling in the fireplace. That’s the time when we let ourselves eat a piece of cake or two, and warm ourselves up with a hot sweet chocolate. At this time, nature has a greater importance – we can smell the forest in our room, thanks to the Christmas tree, and we watch the snow falling down. We finally have time to bundle up in a blanket and read a good book or have a bubbly hot bath.
Finally, most importantly, we finally are with the people who love us, who appreciate us the way we are. We gather all together to celebrate one thing and to just live the moment. We try to forget about problems and focus on those little things that make as happy as they did when we were little kids waiting for Santa Claus or looking for the first star in the sky. Just like them, we don’t need anything more to be happy. It is more than enough.
And that’s hygge.
Therefore, you don’t need a Christmas tree or a fireplace to feel cozy. What – or rather who – creates the atmosphere of being comfortable is the people who you don’t need to try hard to be important for. You are just enough.
In conclusion – when you put your problems and worries away and just enjoy the taste of the meal and the chatter of your close ones talking and joking, the simple laughs and words of kindness and the last sip of cinnamon tea before bedtime, you will feel hygge.
And you can feel it forever.
Hello, everybody! It’s Julia here. Mariella has already introduced me in the recent article – I prepare the visuals for SMFF articles and also freebies and quizzes. Today, I am happy to present my first article on SMFF website. I hope you guys enjoyed it and got inspired. I wish you all a great day. You can find me daily on our instagram (follow for daily quotes and a dose of motivation), as well as the rest of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr – check out below).
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