Hygge- What's it All About?
It's funny, we are starting to see the word Hygge everywhere now. Is it a trend or is the world really starting to catch on that Denmark is in fact the happiest country in the world for decades for a reason. Hygge, which is best translated to coziness- but means so much more- is a way of life and being in Scandinavia, especially Denmark, that is just so real and natural to us that it becomes difficult to describe- but easy to share.
Happiness leads to healthiness- remember 99% of all illnesses are in part stress related- and your happiness is within your control. It's not about making New Years resolutions, that you force yourself to keep for 6 weeks, it is about making the choice to go through life with a genuine smile on your face, and inspire others to do the same. Enjoy the journey through life, it isn't just about destinations and milestones, which we as a society are way too caught up on, life is about having and sharing experiences.
There are tons of self-help books out there telling you not to "Sweat the Small Stuff", or yoga practices guiding you to let go of the stresses that hold you back- but how do you really do that, not just aspire to it. Hygge takes the opposite approach, which is the positive view. Hygge is about enjoying the small stuff, the moments in between, and nature.
Hygge is a warm hug the first thing in the morning; it is snuggling with a warm blanket, a cup of tea and a great book on a cold winter day; it is about a steaming cup of hot cocoa after coming in from a having a family snowball fight; it is lighting candles and having a home cooked meal with your family or enjoying a glass of wine with a great friend; it is the smell of your house after you have baked a fresh batch of cookies, and it is laughing until your sides hurt and tears stream down your cheeks. Totally unpretentious, hygge is genuine and real.
So how do you find, or shall I say create, hygge, when you think it has been lost in the stress of day-to-day minutia and crazy pace of your life? One small step at time- take a deep breath and put a smile on your face. Look out the window and watch a squirrel run around frenetically and laugh out loud. Truly enjoy the next moment you get to hold your daughter or son's hand on the way to the bus stop. Play a board game on do a puzzle together as a family next weekend. Every moment is valuable and important. Every ingredient you cook with or choice you make has an impact- so do it with love.
And make decisions with purpose. Instead of stressing about the calories you are eating or checking your FibBit every 15 minutes to see if you have taken enough steps today to assuage your guilt for binging on fast food that you didn't even enjoy that much anyway, consider what will truly make your smile, or give you joy that you can share with those around you. Start today. Plan a healthy, thoughtful meal that your whole family can sit down and share- be present and enjoy, savor and relish the moment.
That is healthy hedonism- that is hygge.