You’ve likely heard the word hygge (pronounced Hoo-Gah), popping up in design catalogues and lifestyle magazines. Depending on the context, it may have described a homely decorated apartment or the feeling you get when you cuddle up with a blanket, tea and a book. But is there more to this increasingly popular word?
Hygge is the Danish term that engenders the feelings of cosiness & contentment. Put simply, it’s intentional intimacy and if you’re fortunate enough to visit Denmark and experience Hygge first hand, you’ll find that the word goes far beyond design and a blanket.
In Denmark, hygge permeates through almost all aspects of life; you can hygge together, hygge yourself or even describe an experience, place or atmosphere as hyggeligt. After an evening with friends you would thank them and describe the night as hygge - because not to be hygge, means it was not a great event.
Hygge is a simple idea with huge lifestyle benefits and it comes as no surprise the Danes are the happiest people on earth. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking highlights how the Danes bring awareness to the decoupling of wealth and wellbeing. After our basic needs are met, more money doesn't lead to more happiness. Instead the Danes focus on what creates a better quality of life, building stronger connections to themselves and others. This is where the definition of intentional intimacy arises.
Hygge is this feeling of well-being that everyone strives to bring to their lives by slowing down just that little bit. Sitting by the window wrapped in a blanket while reading a book and sipping a tea is a prime example of building an intimate connection with yourself. When you hygge yourself like this, you destress, think about things that interest you and get lost in your thoughts. The same thing happens when you have a beautiful dinner with friends or a BBQ in the park. It’s in these moments that we truly connect with each other and build our relationships.
So how do we bring an element of hygge into our lives?
The beauty of hygge is you don’t need to take lessons, buy a new wardrobe, or redesign the house. All you have to do is take a moment to decouple from the stress that surrounds us. Take the time to finish that book that has been sitting next to your bed for the last two months, write a journal or catch up with friends in an intimate setting with a bottle of wine. Put away the phones and get rid of the distractions. These moments are for you and your friends. Let the world wait a while. It’ll still be there when you come back to it.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to let some hygge into your life!