If you make only one resolution in the New Year, let it be to embrace “hygge”, the Danish concept of living cozily, absent of all things annoying or emotionally overwhelming.
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, hygge is a wellness trend that originated in Denmark, the world’s happiest nation. Hygee is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. It is a feeling of home, a feeling that we are safe. Hygge is about enjoying cake, not checking work emails all weekend. It is about small, simple pleasures that make life great like sipping a cup of coffee in front of a flickering fire, cashmere socks, dinner with friends, eating ice cream, playing with your children, reading the Sunday newspaper, a dog asleep at your feet, or savoring a glass of wine.
When you embrace hygge, you give yourself permission to appreciate downtime and to let go of multi-tasking. So, if you are chatting on the phone with a friend, focus on just talking and not performing other tasks; if you are on the couch watching TV, don’t feel bad that you aren’t doing something, because in fact you are doing something – you’re “hygge-ing”!
Here are a few tips from author Helen Russell (The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country) to help you enjoy life the hygge way.
1. Celebrate the simple things.
Brew fresh coffee and savor every sip. Eat that pastry. High-five the world!
2. Reframe rainy days
Make like the Danes and embrace the elements. A rainy day? That’s the perfect excuse to curl up with a new book. Evenings getting chilly? All the more reason to invite friends over. Hygge enthusiasts find opportunity in the most miserable of long-range forecasts.
3. Create a happy home
Danish homes are hygge havens – heavy on wood and leather, with tactile finishing touches such as sheepskin rugs over chairs and freshly plumped cushions. Scientists at University College London found that looking at beautiful things makes us happier by stimulating dopamine.
4. Prioritize your people
In Denmark there is still a cultural emphasis on hygge togetherness. Studies show that spending time with friends and family is key to staying happy and sane.
Bottom Line: Take a break. Turn down the lights and bring out the candles. Build relationships. Spend time with your family. Give yourself a break from the demands of daily life.
Live life today.
Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures, Living the Danish Way, by Charlotte Abrahams
The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking