There are many lifestyle trends in vogue right now, each telling us how to find happiness. Some say that happiness can be found in a tidy home, or in an un-tidy home, in meditation or mindfulness, in rising at 5am or exercising at 10pm, in the food we eat or the people we meet.
But what if finding happiness was far less complicated? What if happiness could be found by simply learning to enjoy the experience of doing the things we love with the people we love in an atmosphere of warmth and joy.
There are few people who would argue that this isn’t the essence of true happiness and yet with the distractions of everyday life and our constant connected-ness to our devices, it’s difficult for us to switch off and simply enjoy what we could now call the ‘simple’ pleasures in life, our friends and family, our home, good food and great conversation.
So, while some gurus are maintaining that clean eating or life hacking is the road to happiness, the art of hygge (pronounce hoo-gah) is far less demanding. In fact, it is fast becoming one of the hottest well-being trends, which is not surprising when you consider that it involves relaxing, eating comfort food, and being just as lazy as you want, whenever you want.
What’s not to love?
Hygge originated with the Danes and we’ll take a look at why later but for now prepare to embrace the culture of ‘coziness’ that our northern friends have graced us with; the art of embracing comfort, the company of your nearest and dearest and simply enjoying the non-materialistic things you love.
Hygge it is all about enjoying experiences over possessions … unless that possession is delicious food or a pair of fluffy socks!
Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and the author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, has said that hygge is all about “being kind to yourself, giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living”
Meik continues to explain how “hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
In short, hygge encourages eating plenty of pastries, drinking hot drinks, reading a book by the fire or sharing a candlelit meal with friends. And while hygge can be practiced all year long, it is the perfect experience on those cold blustery nights when looking out the window is enough to give you shivers.
Recently there has been a huge global interest in the Scandinavian tradition. Maybe it is time we put down the laptops and phones and started to appreciate the little things in life.
Hygge could very well be the secret to happiness.
Are you ready to give it a try?
If you are interested in finding happiness through hygge, The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge is a great book to get started.