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  • Writer's pictureReflective Resources

H is for Hygge

What is hygge?

“Hygge is about having less, enjoying more; the pleasure of simply being. It is generous and celebratory, a way to remember the importance of the simple act of living itself.”

Louisa Thomsen Brits

Hygge is a Danish concept, that engenders a feeling of contentment, well-being or happiness; having a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality

“Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy,” “cosyness of the soul,” and “the absence of annoyance,” to “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,” “cozy togetherness,” and my personal favourite, “cocoa by candlelight”.” Meik Wiking

Hygge (pronounced “hooga/“hue-gah” or “hoo-guh”) is about creating an atmosphere/way of life and just as we are all unique, hygge is not the same for everyone.

You can create hygge in almost any situation, it’s all about how you feel and what works for you. For some, it could entail walking in a forest in the rain in your wellies, hat and scarf, but for others it might mean being cocooned in a blanket with a hot drink and a good book, or simply just being the first up in the morning or the last to go to bed at night to allow yourself some quiet time. Hygge can also involve tasty food and drinks, candles, soft throws, nature and anything else that creates an awe-like, safe or calm environment.

“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.” Meik Wiking

Why practice hygge?

Hygge can help create a higher quality of life, by slowing down, concentrating on the present moment and making it special thereby increasing your contentment and happiness.

How to create hygge

“Just living isn't enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." Hans Christian Anderson”

You can’t force hygge or buy it. Hygge is simple and genuine you create it yourself by being fully present.

“You cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. You cannot hygge if you are in a hurry or stressed out, and the art of creating intimacy cannot be bought by anything but time, interest and engagement in the people around you.” Meik Wiking

You can however help yourself by creating the opportunities for hygge experiences through simplicity and decluttering because it is hard to relax and enjoy the present moment when you are surrounded by clutter.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. William Morris

Hygge is about being more than doing; about creating positive emotional experiences rather than surrounding ourselves with things that we have acquired.

“Material goods rarely alter our levels of happiness, unlike emotional experience. Having can never replace being". Ilsa Crawford”

Hygge is about allowing yourself to step away from the busyness of life, slowing down and being able to relax.

“In its aspect of comfort, hygge involves a sense of wellbeing which encourages relaxation and peacefulness. It excludes by definition a distracted or preoccupied state of mind: hygge is commitment par excellence to the present moment in its basics. In the words of Hartmann-Petersen, 'Hygge rushes in of itself as soon as one is carefree.' -Judith Friedman Hansen

Hygge is about creating special moments for yourself or with others

“Happiness is quality time with friends and family. Incorporate hygge into everyday life.”

Jessica Joelle Alexander

“Time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, comfortable, snug, and welcoming. In many ways, it is like a good hug, but without the physical contact. It is in this situation that you can be completely relaxed and yourself. The art of hygge is therefore also the art of expanding your comfort zone to include other people.”

Meik Wiking

Hygge moments concentrate on uplifting the spirit.

“There is a simple fidelity to the moment that we experience through hygge. ...we adjust our surroundings to guide our energy and desire. Hygge pays attention to the concerns of the human spirit, turning us towards a manner of living that priorities simple pleasure, friendship and connection above consumption.” Louisa Thomsen Brits

This post has just scratched the surface of the subject of hygge, but here is a manifesto that perhaps draws some aspects together


1. ATMOSPHERE Turn down the lights.

2. PRESENCE Be here now. Turn off the phones.

3. PLEASURE Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

4. EQUALITY “We” over “me.” Share the tasks and the airtime.

5. GRATITUDE Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.

6. HARMONY It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.

7. COMFORT Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.

8. TRUCE No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.

9. TOGETHERNESS Build relationships and narratives. “Do you remember the time we . . . ?” 10. SHELTER This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.”

Meik Wiking

For further reading on different types of Hygge

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