“Right now you have everything you need to be in bliss.” – Anthony de Mello
At one point or another, we have all experienced a feeling of contentment and gratitude for the small comforts in our lives. This warm and fuzzy feeling can be described by the Danish word “Hygge.”
After much publicity around the word, hygge has been recently adopted into the English language. It is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Although there is no direct English translation, the concept and feeling of hygge is a useful lesson that we can learn to foster.
Being able to assign a word to this feeling can help us appreciate, take notice of, and make an effort to incorporate more hygge into our lives!
The word hygge has been a part of Danish culture since the 19th century when it first appeared in writing. Hygge can be used as an adjective, a noun, and a verb.
Your favorite pair of cozy socks can be described as hyggelig, while you and your friends can schedule a set time and date to hygge together. As you enjoy playing a board game next to a warm fire, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you are hygg-ing!
Keep in mind that as the term hygge became popular in English-speaking countries, consumer culture has attempted to alter the meaning of the word. However, hygge cannot be bought. Yes, a cozy blanket or mug full of tea might be categorized as hygge, but material items are not entirely what hygge is about. There is no need to purchase Nordic-style knitwear and candles in order to experience hygge.
In reality, hygge is the feeling of comfort which occurs naturally in our lives. It is the feeling you get when you are with your friends and family, enjoying a home-cooked meal, or settling down with a good book. Hygge doesn’t have to cost a cent.
In order to be authentically hygge, it is essential to appreciate the things that bring you joy and comfort. By taking note of these hygge moments, you are more likely to have an improved sense of wellbeing and appreciation for the items, people, and places in your life.
This translates to an increased quality of life and happiness. And that sounds pretty good right?
So, how do I get some hygge?
Well, as mentioned it is not something to be purchased, but it certainly can be cultivated. In your home, in the activities you plan, and how you appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
Here are some great hyggelig actions:
The holidays can be especially difficult when we wish things were different, or when we are mourning the loss of a loved one, or are not content with our lives. Hygge reminds us that it is important to physically and metaphorically wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and sip cocoa once in a while.
Here are some hygge resources:
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