Who doesn’t? I hear you ask, but maybe the bigger question is why we don’t feel happy enough to begin with in today’s modern world.
Of course, there will always be times when we feel sad and upset as a normal part of life’s experiences, such as when we are made redundant or a relationship breaks down, the death of a loved one or an accident or illness.
But what about the other times – when life is in the grey area between our saddest moments and our happiest ones, like a marriage, birth of a child, a new job or some other cause for celebration. When our life is in this grey area, shouldn’t we feel happy most of the time, or certainly not feel “down”. And yet, one of the biggest questions searched on the internet is how to feel happier, suggesting that many of us often aren’t feeling very happy.
According to the United Nations World Happiness Report, Denmark is amongst the happiest places on the planet, with the general consensus being that the Danish culture of Hygge (pronounced “Hoo-gah”) goes a fair way in contributing to this.
Hygge is not something that is directly translatable in English but can be described as a feeling of cosiness and friendliness, leading to a feeling of contentment and well being. Maybe the fact that there is no word for this way of life in the English language is telling in itself.
Examples of Hygge include:
- Snuggling under a blanket to read in front of an open fire;
- Picnics with family and friends on a summer’s day;
- Relaxing in a bath lit by candlelight;
- Hot chocolate snuggled up with a loved one watching a film together;
- Sharing meals with friends and family such as warming soups, porridge, stews and pancakes;
- Barbecues and bonfires;
- Getting out and enjoying nature;
- Comfy clothing;
- Hiking or walking whatever the weather either alone or with friends;
- Playing board games.
Embracing a Hygge lifestyle means adopting a more leisurely pace in our lives. It requires us to disconnect often from the modern super-fast world in order for us to recharge our batteries by reconnecting with the people around us instead. It means taking the time to switch off from our phones and the virtual world and building, or re-building, our real life support systems with family, friends and our community at large. It is fostering these connections that creates that cosy, friendliness that leads to the path of happiness and well being according to Hygge philosophy.
The beauty of Hygge is that anyone can emulate it all for a relatively low-cost, if not for free.
“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does” .– James M Barrie
Maybe another of the reasons we do not feel as happy as the Danes is that too many of us tend to do whatever we like but don’t actually like what we do, to quote James M Barrie.
So, if we want to feel happier not only can we implement these Hygge techniques into our daily lives but at the same time we need to stop and ask ourselves whether we actually like and enjoy what it is we are doing. Even if it’s paying the bills or doing the shopping or running the kids from one after school activity to another, can we make what we are doing more Hygge-like and foster a sense of warmth, cosiness and friendliness whilst doing it? It’s certainly worth a try!
Let me know in the comments of your Hygge activities – besides, what could be more Hygge-like than sharing your positive experiences with others?