It’s that time of year when we are starting to spend more time indoors as the evenings are drawing in. Maybe lighting a fire or wood burner and putting a throw over us whilst watching the TV or reading!! Putting our PJ’s on early with lovely warm socks or slippers! For a lot of us these simple things can make us feel cosy, comfortable, and happy.
Denmark has been named as the world’s happiest country and interestingly they have a culture and general attitude of ‘cosiness’ which they refer to as Hygge . This term comes from the Norwegian word for ‘wellbeing’.
The Danes daily focus on creating a special atmosphere within their homes or outside by using subtle lighting, candlelight and firelight. They have fires outside and everyone wraps up enjoying the chat and company and watching the flames. They enjoy hot drinks like cinnamon hot chocolate and the warm feeling it gives us. They make leaf tea in ceramic teapots and make having a cuppa something special. They make homemade Danish pastries and share with friends /family. Other Hygge activities are watching TV under a duvet, sitting by the fire on a cold night wearing a woolly jumper whilst drinking mulled wine and stroking the dog surrounded by candle light. All these things help the Danes to deal with their long winter days which can have 17 hours of darkness and where temperatures are freezing or below. All these ‘cosy’ ‘Hygge’ moments help to break the dark days up into lovely happy moments and times where you feel good.
Hygge is about being kind to yourself, not denying yourself anything just having a nice time and enjoying the moment and the experience whether with family and friends or on your own.
Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness (a Think Tank and Social Change movement) explains ‘Research has shown that people who are able to be kind to themselves rather than harshly self critical tend to have better mental health and higher life satisfaction’ and goes on to say ‘allowing ourselves some hygge time to boost our own wellbeing leaves us better placed to help others’.
Williamson says a more Hygge-focused culture could contribute not just to happier individuals and families but also more caring communities and a happier society as a whole. Thought provoking.
I think for some of us Hygge may well be a part of our lives already but we can do more I am sure. Let’s make it more routine to have cosy times in our lives as if we are kind to ourselves it is good for our wellbeing and therefore our health.
I can’t wait to bring more Hygge into my life!! It’s a win win situation!! Why don’t you try it too!!