What Is Hygge? 

Hygge is a combination of atmosphere, presence, pleasure, quality, gratitude, harmony, truce, togetherness, shelter and comfort and how they can bring immediate happiness to your life. Higee? Hooge? Hoogi? It took me a few attempts before I actually learned the correct way to spell and pronounce the Danish word ‘Hygge’ (it’s pronounced “hoo-gah” by the way). Now you know how to pronounce it, I’m guessing that your next question is ‘what on earth is it?’

Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word, which loosely translates to ‘cosiness’ or ‘wellbeing.’ It’s a well-known fact that Denmark is the happiest country in the world. We all wanted to know what the big secret was and now we finally know! Put simply, the word Hygge means a combination of atmosphere, presence, pleasure, quality, gratitude, harmony, truce, togetherness, shelter and comfort and how they can bring immediate happiness to your life.

Have you ever noticed the overwhelming feeling of contentment when you sit in front of a fire with the one you love, wearing furry socks, drinking a hot cup of tea and reading a really good book? If you can say yes to this question, then you have already experienced Hygge. It’s a simple concept that focuses on finding happiness from your atmosphere and experiences, rather than the things you own.

A good way to start incorporating Hygge into your life is by finding meaning in the ordinary, finding happiness in the small things that happen in your day, such as making a cup of tea, cuddling the one you love or reading your favourite book. The wellbeing craze is purely embracing these everyday things and learning to be more grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. If you asked a Danish person, they are likely to tell you that candles are the most important part of creating a Hygge atmosphere at home. Danes burn more candle wax than any other country in the world. So turn off that unflattering ceiling lamp and set a Hygge atmosphere by lighting some candles. Put on an oversized jumper and some fluffy socks and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.

Another concept of Hygge is spending time with the people you love. Why not swap your usual Friday night TV session with a homecooked dinner with friends? Sit around a big table, drink some wine, swap some stories and really enjoy being in the moment with them. Food is another essential part of Hygge. To create a cosy and fulfilling life, be sure to fill your day with hot drinks, comfort food and homemade treats, it will leave you feeling wonderful. It may be Hygge to curl up with a good food in front of the fireplace but Hygge is not tied to being indoors. To bring the feeling of Hygge outside, go for a long walk in the park, sit outside your favourite café with a mug of hot chocolate or go camping in the woods with your friends.

Hygge is not restricted to one season either. Hygge can be found in the summer months too; a picnic in the park, barbeque at the beach or even an outdoor movie night. Another way to include Hygge in your everyday life is to allocate some time to do what you love. Whether it be knitting, writing, baking or reading, never underestimate the importance of ‘me-time.’

Also, learning to switch off technology and connect with those around you is another way to experience Hygge. So turn off your smartphone, TV and computer one night a week and have a conversation about life with your family or friends. If you have a pet in the house, make sure they receive some quality time from you too.

So now you know what Hygge is and how you can incorporate it into your life, if you’re not doing it already! Remember that Hygge can mean different things to different people, there is no right or wrong way. For some it may be sitting around a campfire with friends, for others it may just be reading by the fireplace whilst listening to the rain. Find your own Hygge and learn to love the individual things that make your life amazing. The simple reflection that Hygge encourages shares concepts with meditation and mindfulness. Both of which have been found to improve health and wellbeing.

The foundation of Hygge is to enjoy the small things in life that make you happy, to spend quality time doing the things that you love, with the people that you love. Simple!

Written by: Emma-Jane Barlow
Company: Zest For Life Magazine
Type of content: Blog post
Wordcount: 765 words
Date: 2017
Other: Written for my magazine Zest For Life Magazine