I was first introduced to Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) by a Danish friend I met while traveling. I was then surprised to read about it in several of my usual American blogs and magazines. It turns out, Hygge is taking over the world and once I learned more about it, it’s wasn’t surprising why.
What Is Hygge?
While there’s no one word in English that can translate Hygge, it refers to the concept of celebrating life’s little moments and living in the present. It comes from a Norwegian word for well-being. It can be used to describe a feeling, an action, or a lifestyle. You’ll notice it has a lot in common with the general concept of self-care.
Some Hygge Practices
There’s no one thing that’s necessary for Hygge. Nearly anything that makes you feel good can be Hygge. A lot of emphasis is put on comfort so cozy socks, sweaters, yoga pants, and blankets are all Hygge-friendly. Many Danish people consider candles the most important part of their way of life. Familiarity is also important, so homemade comfort foods, sitting by the fire, and warm drinks are a go. The lifestyle also celebrates togetherness. Getting together with friends and simply enjoying each other’s company is important, but you can totally still practice Hygge by yourself by practicing self-love.
One thing that’s definitely not Hygge? Electronics. Computers and cell phones should be tossed to the side, but movies are okay. Other activities include puzzles, board games, reading, cooking, and laughing with friends.
Why You Should Try It
If you’re not convinced by how great it sounds, there are plenty of benefits to practicing Hygge. It’s super easy to incorporate into your life. It’s also free. While some American companies are trying to make money off of it by selling you Hygge-related products, that actually goes against the fundamentals of it. The practice as a whole is all about living simply, without the temptations of modern consumerism.
The most important benefit is that it helps reduce stress. Many Danish doctors even prescribe it to treat the common cold, as an alternative to traditional OTC medications. In addition, Hygge can increase happiness and life satisfaction. In fact, year after year, Denmark is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. Since the weather’s pretty lousy, I’d bet that Hygge is a huge contributor to that. In fact, you’ll notice that many Hygge practices are winter-friendly. Perfect for keeping you happy and healthy through the dreary weather.