Everybody desires to be happy, but for many, it seems elusive for many reasons. Perhaps there’s too much discontent, confusion, and anxiety.
When you want to achieve some balance, return to the centre, and enjoy deeper happiness, you may want to consider practicing hygge.
What Is Hygge?
Hygge is a concept and a lifestyle originating in Denmark. It’s about cosiness, with an emphasis on fireplaces, friends, and family. But it’s also about simpler things like taking time to enjoy the good things in life and being more content.
To achieve hygge, you first have to create intimacy (a feeling of familiarity between two or more people) so that everyone feels safe and at ease. Sometimes you can do this by doing nothing at all.
Hygge does not necessarily require interaction. Sometimes simple shared experiences are enough to cultivate togetherness and cosiness, such as reading a book together or sitting around a campfire or, even better, having these different moments side by side: spending time with your partner while reading a book, sharing a warm cup of tea with your best friend.
Some believed that the concept was originally described in the eighteenth century by Danish philosopher Ludvig Holberg. On one hand, he warned against the dangers of hygge, describing it as a poisonous substance. On the other hand, he praised it as a cure against misery.
In his treatise, Holberg set out to expose human misery in an attempt to understand why so many people at this time were unhappy despite living under relatively prosperous conditions. He argued that besides riches and high social status, which are commonly assumed to be prerequisites for happiness, there are various other circumstances that affect people’s well-being. These include physical appearance, health, and personal values.
Holberg divided the causes of misery into four categories: chance, human action even with good intentions, nature, and, finally, one’s behaviour. He explained how hygge, or a lack thereof, contributed to distress and unhappiness under all four headings.
Danish culture flourished during the eighteenth century because Denmark became one of the first countries in Europe to abolish censorship of printed works as well as the state religion. In Holberg’s time, the Danish enlightenment led to an emerging middle class. The bourgeoisie encouraged their citizens to improve their society and state of mind by cultivating education, peacefulness, and contentment. Thus, the idea of increasing one’s hygge was born.
How to Achieve Hygge
In essence, hygge is the art of creating intimacy and togetherness for yourself and those around you. The philosophy relies on everyone contributing to create something magical whether it’s a sense of community or a feeling that everything in life is going to be alright. Nothing extreme or too extravagant—just simple moments caught up in cosiness, warmth, and calm.
If you follow these easy steps, you are sure to achieve hygge:
1. Light candles. They signify good times ahead and add some soft light to a room. You may get various smells from them such as vanilla, which is said to make one happy, or you can play around with oils for candle making to even come up with a signature scent.
2. Make yourself comfortable. This does not have to mean lots of money for fancy furniture or going on expensive vacations. Just do whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. The theme here is about enjoying the moment rather than wanting to be somewhere else or with someone else, which is where true happiness can be found.
3. Keep a fire burning. This is an essential part of hygge because it’s about feeling warm and cosy. Fireplaces are generally the best option, but if you don’t have one, candles also give off a lovely glow that creates a sense of calm and serenity.
4. Create group activities. To help make this more than just sitting around, why not think about something creative you could do together? If you’re in need of inspiration, check out Pinterest for some great ideas on how to create game nights that everyone will enjoy!
5. Eat well. Maybe there is no food involved in your activities, but hygge is also about eating together. Think of it as a sort of sharing what you have. There’s nothing that brings people together more than food.
Hygge does not mean it has to be expensive or luxurious. Rather, it means turning off your TV and taking time out for yourself. It can be enjoyed in many ways: cuddling with your children, curling up on the sofa watching Netflix with your partner, reading a book, or having a long lunch with friends. The possibilities are endless!
Because hygge is more of an attitude or a lifestyle than just a thing or a fad, everyone can be their own guru when it comes to how they interpret this concept into their lives!