How Hygge Can Make You Happier
Discover the Danish hygge lifestyle, finding pleasure in simple everyday things. We explore the benefits and share easy ideas for adding hygge to your life.
Source: Hygge House
What is Hygge?
Pronounced ‘hue-guh’, hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that encompasses a mood of cosiness and comfort with feelings of wellness and contentment. This approach is more than a Danish obsession with getting cosy, it derives from the Norwegian term meaning ‘to comfort’ or ‘to console’ and is associated with the English word ‘hug’. Hygge is both wholesome and nourishing, with Danish doctors recommending ‘tea and hygge’ as a cure for the common cold.
Hygge is a way of living life, taking genuine pleasure in simple everyday moments. And who doesn’t want a little more of that? It’s a fundamental part of Danish culture, and could explain why Denmark is regarded as one the happiest countries in the world.
Photo: by Valentyn Volkov / Alamy
What are the Mental Health Benefits of Hygge?
Hygge brings comfort, calm and peace within the living space, and there are a number of emotional benefits that come with this, by helping us to feel less anxious and infusing a sense of wellbeing and safety. The domino effect is that these feelings of ‘home’ and being safe from the world allow us to let our guard down and be more present, be open to sharing our spaces and connecting with one another.
Here are some examples of benefits hygge can have on mental health:
- Increased feelings of optimism
- Reduction in stress
- Greater sense of mindfulness and control over situations
- Reduced feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and low mood
- Increased feelings of self-worth
How Can I Incorporate Hygge into My Life?
Winter is known as the most hygge time of year, filled with cinnamon scented candles, shearling slippers, woven textiles, warm pastries, sheepskin rugs and lattes with foamy milk. But we can experience hygge all year round – in spring and summer, think fresh air, natural sunlight, crisp cotton and beautiful flowers.
Reclining in a comfortable armchair, gazing at an open fire, being alone and savouring the moment – that’s hygge. But the true expression is about creating a warm, welcoming environment where you can relax and enjoy the company of people you love.
The beauty of hygge is it’s easy to achieve – it’s not about being perfect, you don’t need to follow rules or spend a fortune; it’s about atmosphere and experience, rather than things.
You probably have most of what you need already, but here are 12 simple ideas to embrace the hygge feeling:
Photo: Project Nord
Create a ‘hyggekrog’: find a favourite spot at home where you can slow down and enjoy some me-time: slip on woolly socks, curl up on the sofa and listen to a soothing playlist; sit by an open window where sunlight streams in: or sink into an oversized armchair and get lost in a good book.
Light some candles to create a soft, romantic glow in your space that is both calming and soothing. White candles are perfect, they don’t need to be scented. We particularly like this Scandinavian candle inspired by the hygge concept. (Student discount available).
Another great way to achieve soft ambient lighting instead of bright overhead lights (and also in areas where candles are not permitted). This doesn’t have to involve a whole new purchase but can be achieved by replacing your lightbulbs with warm, yellow tone ones.
Blankets & throws
A simple touch to add a whole new dynamic to a living area, surrounding your guests with comforting textures and from a decorative point of view, complementary colours can really bring a room together. We love Dunelm’s affordable blanket and throw range!
Rugs can help create a warm hygge atmosphere, through varying tactile textures throughout your home, especially in cool areas such as the bathroom or tiled kitchens. Check out the trendy rugs at Urban Outfitters, which will brighten any room (even better with student discount).
A great way to spend nights in with friends and family, away from screens and making fun memories together. Our personal favourites are good old Monopoly, and Saboteur which will have you second guessing people you thought you knew! Prepare your best poker face!
Spending time in nature is good for your health and happiness. Go for a bike ride, an energising walk or a stroll round the garden.
Even when you’re relaxing inside, open doors and windows whenever you can.
Photo: Bella Grace Magazine
Bringing nature into your home can have beneficial effects on your mental health. As well as looking lush, houseplants are known for their air purifying and calming properties. Patch Plants is a great place to start, as you can select exactly which kind of room the plant is going to live in, with instructions on how to give it the best chance of survival!
In the summer, make the room come alive with a vase of fresh flowers – the colours and scent will fill the room and boost your mood.
Photo: The Foodie’s Way
Hot drinks in pretty mugs
Serve up warming drinks – frothy hot chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, soothing chamomile tea or festive mulled wine, whatever does it for you.
We’re not talking posh nosh and dinner parties, hygge is getting together to enjoy easy home cooking. If you’re hosting, or simply fancy a yummy sweet treat, there’s nothing quite like the deliciously welcoming smell of fresh baking. Whether you are a sucker for banana bread with lashings of melted butter, or an avid dunker of chocolate chip cookies in a hot cup of tea, or tempted by still-warm blueberry muffins, simple homemade bakes will always go down a treat.
Rest (and of course beauty sleep) is a major element of hygge living. Turn your bedroom into a safe haven that infuses a sense of calm and cosiness, somewhere you can totally relax. Neutral colours, soft blankets, fresh clean bedlinen, and maybe invest in the Casper Down Comforter – a duvet for all-year round, which has thousands of positive reviews, alongside high sustainability values.
Hygge is all about connecting with loved ones, friends and family. Whether you are just chatting (even via video at the moment!), enjoying a movie or eating together, laughter and conversation with people you love will always make you happier.
Photo: Life Storage Blog
Adapt these simple ideas to create an atmosphere of cosiness and wellbeing. Slow down your life and enjoy the present, rather than pondering the future or worrying about the past. Hygge for everyday happiness!
If you would like to read and understand more about this fascinating concept then Meik Wiking has got your sorted in his recently published The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. It was shortlisted by Oxford University as the ‘dictionary book of the year’ and has been described as ‘the art of being consciously cosy’, so make time to dive in and start applying some of these infectious concepts in to your everyday.
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