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The Pursuit of Hygge: Tips to Increase Your Well-Being This Holiday Season!

Hygge is of Danish-Norwegian origin and is pronounced “Hoo-ga.” It is the focus of this week’s blog post because it symbolizes what many of us look for in the holidays – a feeling of connection and the ability to enjoy the people and special atmosphere that the holidays often bring. But hygge is not just for the holidays – it’s a feeling that you can generate on a daily basis. How? Read on!
Hygge ExplainedHygge is not a food or an ornament or a thing at all – it is a “feeling” or experience of a warm and inviting atmosphere and/or the gathering of family and friends. It has been described as intimacy, coziness, well-being, hominess, warmth, good cheer, peace of mind, friendliness, cordiality, neighborliness, togetherness, a sense of belonging – you get the picture! In German, the same type of feeling is embodied in the word, Gemütlichkeit; it’s Gezelligheid in The Netherlands and Koselig in Norway.
Hygge is described by one author as “cocoa by candlelight” (Wiking, 2017, p. vi). Hygge can be felt when with others or all by yourself. It is associated with happiness, safety, and an embracing of a cozy or comfortable environment. It’s sitting by a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night in your jammies while the snow piles up outside or spending time with family or friends drinking hot cocoa and eating Christmas cookies or curling up with a good book and a warm, fluffy blanket on the window seat overlooking songbirds at the bird feeder in the yard. Calm. Peace. Hygge.
Hygge can happen spontaneously or by design. Either way, people are studying this phenomenon and investigating how hygge and happiness are linked (Wiking, 2017). So let’s talk about how to create Hygge in your life!
The Elements of HyggeAccording to Wiking (2017), there are multiple elements that used separately or together can help create an atmosphere of hygge.
Let There Be Light!
Light plays an important role in creating hygge. Candles can set the stage for everyday hygge. The idea of candlelight or lamplight is to evoke a soothing and relaxing feeling – you are creating a hygge atmosphere. You can set a mood with low-temperature lighting from candles or a lamp set on low. Think pools of light, not bright fluorescents (Wiking, 2017). Lighting is especially important in areas of the world where sunshine is limited.
Be Present!
Be truly present in the time you spend with yourself and with others – don’t let electronics distract you from what is important.
Create an Atmosphere of Togetherness, Harmony, and Safety. Build memories. Strengthen relationships. Encourage others to share their thoughts in a safe and inviting environment – you want to stay away from topics that might create internal or external strife (religion, politics, etc.). Have fun together!
Relax and Be Merry!
Hygge is all about comfort and pleasure in food, drink, people, and surroundings. Surround yourselves with comfort and things that bring you pleasure. Relax.
Hygge for the sensesHygge for the senses. Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash
Pleasure for your senses in what you eat and drink (chocolate, cookies, cake, coffee, tea), what you smell (hot cider with cinnamon, fresh-baked cookies), what you hear (the crackling fire, rain on the roof, the howl of a snowstorm), what you see (holiday decorations, snow on the fir trees, a beautiful sunset), and what you feel (a cashmere throw, a cat snuggled in your lap, warm socks).
Be Grateful!
Most importantly, think about your many blessings. Be mindful of where you are, what’s around you, who’s around you, and why you are all together. Create stronger neural networks by really thinking about these things and create lasting memories.
For other books about Hygge, click on this link: Books about Hygge
No post next week: Have a wonderful Holiday!ReferencesWiking, M. (2017). The little book of hygge: Danish secrets to happy living New York, NY: William Morrow Harper Collings.

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