Hygge is s a Danish and Norwegian word that literally translates into a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. But how do you pronounce it? Pronounced “hoo-ga,” this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. But what exactly is it? Let’s try to find out.
What exactly is Hygge?
Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen told in an interview that Hygge can be said to be anything right from drinking a hot cocoa in winters to reading a book cozied up in your favourite armchair.
According to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Denmark ranks top in the world as the world’s happiest country and Wiking believes that the positive stat can be attributed to hygge. “The Danes are exceptionally good at decoupling wealth and well-being,” he says. “We focus on the small things that really matter, including spending more quality time with friends and family and enjoying the good things in life.” Enough of the lesson let’s find out how do you practice Hygge?
Hygge in reality is very cost effective to practice and it does not require much effort. It’s basically appreciating little things in life. instead of drooling over an expensive watch, try to appreciate the money you have so that you could buy that expensive watch, instead of getting flushed with emotions over the your new car, appreciate the fact that you have a car to go wherever you want and whenever you want. Make sure that you have enough time, not be in a hurry, and focus on the simple pleasures. “For instance, let a good stew simmer for hours while you read a good book and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Also, keep it old-school—board games over computer games,”.
According to the Danes lighting up a candle is an important part of Hygge. Danes consume around 13 pounds of candle wax per capita, which is way more than any other country in the world. For them candles express the sootiness and is an important tool to create a Hygge environment. Symbolically it is also used to light up dark and eery winters in Denmark which automatically makes your mood Hygge.
While winter is the obvious time for all things hygge, Danes practice this concept year round. Some ideas for hyggelig summer activities include picnics in the park, backyard dinner parties, bonfires on the beach, and outdoor movie nights. From a culinary perspective, hygge is about giving yourself a break from the demands of healthy living, but taking time to bake, savor, and enjoy the process of it.
Wiking says that cake is hyggeligt, hot chocolate, too, but carrot sticks and foie gras—not so much. You doing Netflix and chill, believe it or not, is also Hygge. Yes you read that right. this phrase has been misused in the USA (not being judgemental;)) and now is being used like that only. But just sitting comfortably under a blanket with your loved one watching a good movie is also Hygge.
In conclusion, hygge is not just about making sure you have these elements in your space—after all, the main component of hygge is that you’re feeling present and spending quality time with yourself or your loved ones. Right now, when our world feels a little bit uncertain, hygge is a way to practice self-care that feels sincere and remember Hygge is not that someone else will create for you it’s you and only you that’ll do it.