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Hygge is a Danish concept that encapsulates all things warm and cosy. It is very much a feeling. A way of living. A way of being. It’s hard to translate hygge exactly, and that’s sort of the point. There are many words that can be used to describe and associate with this Danish concept, but the only way to really experience the joy of hygge is by feeling it.
The Joy of Hygge
Pausing in the middle of a rain storm and looking out the window to the freezing cold weather whilst clutching a hot cup of coffee. That is hygge. Feeling the warmth and comfort of the indoors as it pours down in your garden. That is hygge. You may already experience it on a daily basis, you just didn’t know it had a name. There are so many different ways to describe it, but “a feeling of cosiness and contentment” conveys it well.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have read a post I write sometimes called Sunday comforts. It’s a short reflection of my day or week and celebrates something small in my life that brings me a lot of joy. Over time I’ve written about blankets, candles, the smell of a fresh breeze and home baking. These all convey the joy of Hygge perfectly for me.
Of course, this feeling very much comes down to personal preference. To understand it for yourself you may be best to learn about it from the experts. My first introduction to the concept was through this book; The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. I received it as a gift for Christmas and started reading it the next day. Honestly, I’m not sure I put it down again until I was finished.
Using Hygge to help you mental health
As you can imagine, such a cosy lifestyle can be hugely beneficial to your mental health. Life is often so busy that we forget to pause and just be for a second. The hygge lifestyle encourages you to slow down, a little or a lot, and really embrace what is going on around you. In much the same way that meditation and yoga are beneficial for the mind, practising hygge can help you to calm your thoughts.
Acknowledging the positive moments that you experience, as you experience them also encourages the practice of gratitude and lifts your mood. This is often why those who take a quiet moment in the morning will find themselves feeling happier throughout the day.
Once again I want to recommend this book if you are someone who is looking to find more joy in the little things in life. Often we search for big breakthroughs in life whilst exploring things like self care and personal development. Big moments can we wonderful, but I’ve found myself growing most of all in the little things. Recognising the way I like my coffee or the way my mood is lifted by a scented candle, these things help me to be happier each and every day.
Bringing Hygge into your home
One of the things I love most about the hygge lifestyle is that it is very accessible. Expense and effort are just not necessary. The very opposite in fact, hygge is all about simplicity. For some, the addition of cushions and throws to a relaxing space such as your bed or sofa are all it takes. For others, it is having a cupboard stocked with baking supplies ready to make bread and crumbles.
If you are a family person, it may be that a dinner party by candle light is the perfect way for you to bring it into your home. If you prefer your own company, the sound of your favourite record playing as you switch off for the evening might be your version of comfort and contentment. For me, there is nothing better than a crackling fire. Especially one which I’ve made myself!
Most importantly, find out what makes you genuinely happy. Once you recognise the things and moments that bring you joy you can bring more of them into your home and into your life.
Whether you are brand new to the hygge lifestyle or already embrace it every single day, I hope this post has brought you some comfort and that you leave feeling a little more content. Have a wonderful day!