As the winter chill comes to an end, we need to continue one winter trend:
What is Hygge?
It is a Danish wellness concept and often translated as “coziness.”
A Danish anthropologist, Jeppe Trolle Linnet, Ph.D. refers to it as “a situation that is pleasant, relaxed, devoid of demands, where you can be yourself and focus on the here and now.”
The concept of Hygge might explain why Denmark is the world’s happiest country. According to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, hygge produces a rapid increase in oxytocin, which is the calming and connecting hormone that also suppresses the body’s stress hormone, cortisol.
Hygge cannot be purchased with cash, card, or Apple Pay. A Bucknell University professor, Jonathan Bean, Ph.D describes hygge as a choice to have a specific type of experience, regardless of materialistic surroundings.
Examples of hygge, include: fresh flowers, homemade jam, and backyard barbecues. Hygge forces you to stop, breathe in, and indulge a little.
How do the Danish apply Hygge to their daily lives?
#1 – Equality
- Play Fair
Break out the board games! Do not worry how long it take you to finish the game. Simply, go with the flow and have fun.
- Share Your Reads
Create a “leave a book, take a book” shelf in a common work area! It will create a sense of community and provide topics to discuss, which are independent of your office – or social – hierarchy totem pole.
#2 – Gratitude
- Capture Moments
Snap pictures of happiness! File these pictures in an album on your phone instead of sharing on social media – it will avoid any competitive edge about number of “likes.” When you want to remember all that you are grateful for, scroll through these pictures.
- Pen A Pal
Choose a significant person in your life and write him or her a thank you note! A brief email will not suffice – you can always hit the delete button. A handwritten letter will help you to reflect on how you feel and enable the gratitude to really soak in. Spread the hygge and mail it to the recipient.
#3 – Pleasure
- Make Breakfast Special
Stop grabbing a protein bar on your way out the door, and instead “play chef” before bed! Prepare some overnight oats or slice fruit and creatively arrange it over yogurt. When you wake up groggy, you will enjoy a pleasant experience waiting for you. And, do not rush off just yet… Wash the dishes first! Clutter can disturb hygge because it symbolizes the outside world interfering with enjoying life at home.
- Buy a Bouquet
Hygge gives you permission to purchase things that you might not otherwise. Indulgence for the sake of personal pleasure instead of impressing other people is a core component of this lifestyle. Focus on buying items that are fulfilling and meaningful for you. Do you prefer tulips over roses? Buy a bountiful bouquet of tulips!
#4 – Togetherness
- Bond Close to Home
Do you want to travel to a tropical island or mountain resort with a group of your pals? Instead, try a picnic in a local park or brunch at a quaint restaurant. The tension-inducing logistics and planning involved with far away destination can interfere with hygge. Even better, start a weekend ritual with your friends, such as Saturday morning Boot Camp or Cycle Class or Friday evening manis and margaritas. Hygge often showcases familiarity and repetition – traditions are an easy way to bring people together.
- Host a Swap Party
Do you have that one item (or multiple items) gathering dust in your closet? Swap this item with something your friend never uses. It might be swapping your juicer with a friend who is new to a healthy diet with a pair of shoes he or she never wears. You are spending time together and getting some new gear at the same time – a win-win!
How will you apply Hygge to your daily life?
Tedesco, J. (2017). Spring for Hygge. Women’s Health Magazine.