In the English language, there is no definition of hygge that’s perfect. While we may not have a exact translation of this Danish word with Old Norse origins, we can understand its unifying theme; living a hygge life entails appreciating warm and cozy moments and savoring the happiness felt therein.
Hygge House defines it as ‘a Danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment.’ Hygge is a feeling of warmth and oneness, peace of mind, belonging, well being, and enjoying the moment. It can be alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary but is always cozy, charming or special.’ Or let’s go for the Oxford dictionary definition instead: ‘a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.’ Words such as coziness, happiness, security, comfort, simplicity, and contentment, to name a few describe the concept. But none of them seems to do justice to the original Danish meaning. Rather, it seems hygge is an aggregate of these words and each of them presents just parts of what living a hygge life means.
Taking time out
In a world where everyone seems to be so busy, we often forget to appreciate the moment we are in. Research has shown that Americans spend an average of 5 hours each day on their mobile devices. Think about the first thing you do when you wake up every morning. For most people, it’s unlocking their phones to catch up on some emails, or check out Facebook or Twitter notifications. Interestingly, that is usually the last thing most people do before sleeping, and at the dinner table, and in the bus on the way to work, and just about every other place. In all of this information overload, we hardly take a breather to appreciate the best gift we have, the present. This is what the concept of hygge seeks to espouse. That we can find contentment in taking time out to enjoy simple things in life that make us feel warm and at peace.
Hygge life for the introvert
Hygge is commonly known as the ‘introvert’s answer to a good time.’ Maybe that is true in Denmark and throughout other countries too. It’s widely publicized that the Danes are among the happiest people in the world. Denmark consistently ranks among the top 5 of the United Nation’s World Happiness list since the inception of the list. While a lot of factors, no doubt, contribute to happiness and the argument that true happiness can hardly be measured also holds water, you would agree that being at peace with yourself or in the company of close friends seems to be a key factor to being happy. And the Danes excel at that.
Hygge is a feeling of warmth, peace of mind, belonging, well being and enjoying the moment.
Unfortunately, it is what introverts in many parts of the world struggle to achieve. The society puts so much pressure on introverts to come “out of their shells” and interact in large groups, forgetting that not everyone is suited to that lifestyle. Some introverts make the mistake of caving in, thinking it is the best path to fulfillment. They only discover that true happiness or fulfillment eludes them even more. The key is learning how to enjoy your own company and the company of the few you most care about. And that is exactly what hygge teaches.
Embracing the hygge life
There are no strict ‘how to hygge’ rules and that’s one of the things that make the concept so appealing. It’s about embracing the unpretentious joys of everyday living, according to your preferences. You’re not bound by stringent dos and don’ts. Rather, you are encouraged to live your life in a simple and meaningful manner. You might even be living the life already without paying much attention to it. If you have ever enjoyed a cozy night sitting by the fireplace and warming up to a glass of home-brewed tea, or spent a cold morning wrapped in your blanket, with a book to read and candles for lighting, then you already know how to live the life. You simply need to do these more often.
For introverts, embracing a hygge life may simply mean taking more time to enjoy our own company, and spending more quiet, quality time with family and a select group of friends.
Keeping it simple
There’s also the concept of owning less. A hygge life goes hand in hand with minimalism. While it might not teach you to get rid of a large part of your belongings, you would certainly learn that it is the extras that we own or aspire to that distract us from appreciating the present. Hygge could also entail having a preference for natural or handmade over synthetic or factory made. Bedside lamp may be ditched for candlelight or designer blankets or sweaters may be ditched for the cozy, hand-knitted ones.
For introverts, embracing a hygge life may simply mean taking more time to enjoy our own company, and spending more quiet time with family and a select group of friends.
Hygge encourages savoring what you simply love, but first you need to give yourself the freedom to truly discover those things. And actually, hygge moments call for not trying to do too much. So the meeting point is the feeling of happiness and contentment that comes with enjoying everyday pleasures that are special to you and embracing the lifestyle. Furthermore, hygge isn’t restricted to indoors. Going for a walk on an early summer morning or enjoying an evening bike ride with your best friend is also hygge.
When we introverts try to please everyone around us or be someone we’re truly not, happiness eludes us. And while engaging in constant worry over an unsure tomorrow, we fail to appreciate the greatest gift we’ll ever get — the present. The hygge life helps us break away from this complicated web and find peace within.
Remember, the key to hygge is finding comfort in being yourself and delighting in the simple but special moments of your life. There is absolutely no need to overthink the concept or worry too much about getting it right. Simply do the things that make you happy with the minimum fuss possible and you are already living hygge.The key to hygge is finding comfort in being yourself and delighting in the simple but special moments of your life. Click To Tweet