Hygge is pronounced “hue-guh” and is a Danish word meaning comfort, well-being; enjoying life’s simple pleasures alone or with loved ones. This is a Danish art of experiencing happiness, which allows you to bring unlimited joy into your daily life. This is a philosophy and daily practice that encourages you to feel contentment and coziness by living in the moment, or being fully present and engaging with your surroundings fully with all of your senses.
As the weather gets colder, we tend to want to get cozy with warm mugs of tea or coffee and snuggle by a fire under a blanket with a loved one, or a good book. These are some examples of feeling cozy or experiencing hygge. Hygge is such an embodied part of Danish culture and despite winters with only six hours of daylight and really cold temperatures of -30 C (-22 F), the Danes are ranked as some of the happiest people in the world. Here’s how we can learn from them.
Some ways to take in pleasure from the presence of gentle and comforting things are:
1. Candlelight -light a candle. In the book Anam Cara by Celtic poet John O’Donahue, he talks about the mystery that exists in candlelight. He says, “Candlelight perception has the finesse and reverence appropriate to the mystery and autonomy of soul. Such perception is at home at the threshold.” He reminds us of the beauty in the mystery and how our soul feels at home in the reverence and kindness of candlelight.
2. creating moments of just BEING – by choosing simple pleasures. Listen to a record, watch the snow fall outside your window, and feel the weight of a quilt surround you as you nestle by the fire. Eat warm and hearty foods that are tied to childhood memories, or just make you feel good on the inside. Engage with your senses by fully seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling everything around you with gratitude.
3. linger longer – Linger after your meal at the table a while longer before rushing to clean up. Decide to be still before moving on to the next thing on your list and just appreciate the goodness in each moment.
4. nature is grounding – Spend time in nature even if it is cold and feel how it invigorates you. Being in nature is so good for your mental and physical health.
5. create a space to nourish your soul – You want your home to feel like a cozy nook after a hard day at work. Add textures and blankets and pillows to create the sense of being snuggled or held in your space. Keep the fire going, and add elements to affect the mood and ambiances like music, candles, and incense.
6. experience gratitude by expressing it – Being grateful is the number one way to remove fear from your brain and also move you into a state of contentment and bliss which is the highest frequency or vibrational state we can exist in. Did you know when you live out of such a state of gratitude it is hard to have dis-ease because your body is at complete “ease?” A simple way to express and feel gratitude is when you wake up every morning–think of one person in your life who you can send a note expressing your gratitude for. Not only will this make you feel good, but you are also helping someone else to feel good!