Hygge and Happiness

What Brings You to Happiness?

It is not until there is an absence of a thing, a void where it once was, before you can truly appreciate just how valuable, even essential that thing is to your well being. Relationships for me are that thing. I was born into a large family, one of eight siblings by the same two parents. However for many reasons (too many to list here) the bulk of this family are no longer in contact, or even on friendly terms. At first this was how it needed to be, certain unhealthy pressures needed to be lifted and pain released. However, now many years later there is within me a deep longing for connection. Although only few of these relationships have now been rebuilt it is safe to say that in their absence I became aware of just how valuable quality connection with trusted loved ones is to me and to my happiness.

I’m certain you have had a similar experience, perhaps not with your immediate family, but with a once close friend, or harder still, a lover or partner. In the loss of this connection it can become more apparent just how valuable relationships (of quality) are. Age, I have found, has a wonderful ability to open my eyes to that which matters most to me and as you have probably guessed, it is quality time and connection with loved ones. The building up of and giving to relationships brings me more happiness than the pleasures brought by money or new toys ever could, and who doesn’t love those things? In some of the worlds longest living people – centenarians, it is recognised that having approximately five people who are close to you will work as a protective factor bringing you happiness and longer life.

So by now you may ask, where does Hygge come into this? Much like the extensive benefits of minimalism, hygge is a practice that purposefully cultivates intentional intimacy. Hygge (pronounced hue-gu) is a Danish term that allows them to be some of the happiest folk in the world. Hygge values cozy environments, fostering the perfect ambience for connection between people. Hygge is about being present to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Hygge is a practice that accentuates happiness for someone like me, and may do for you too.

Hygge is the pursuit of everyday happiness and spending time with loved ones. It is socializing for introverts – Meik Wiking

How to Hygge

Here are the top 5 ways you can bring Hygge into your every day life:

Have dinner with your family, friends, partner or housemates – no phones, computers or television going. This business of pleasure and connection is serious. Sit at the table, be together and focus on each other over a warm meal with the flicker of candle light and gentle music in the background. Such a meal will leave yourself and loved ones feeling closely bonded.

Bring your presence with you – whether you’ve created a cozy corner to enjoy a good book and sip a hot coffee or you are walking and talking with a loved one, be 100% there. The practice of presence will give your actions meaning, help you feel satisfied and bring you greater gratitude for the joyful moments already in your life.

Atmosphere and comfort – in any space you are spending your time, add soft fabrics, pleasingly scented candles and gentle music (my favourite is jazz, take it away Chet Baker), this will create a comfortable and beautiful ambience for you and others to be in.

Shared food experiences – picnics, BBQ’s, coffee and cake, cooking and baking together. Instead of talking over messenger or spending cash on tangible gifts create shared experiences with your loved ones around the pleasures of food. The French have long known the benefits of savouring petite pleasures with one another for decades. Split your cake and double the quality time with your beloved.

Pleasure – Hygge is all about the pleasure of what you are doing. It seems very European to avoid rushing and busy-ness in all ones tasks, instead enjoy them, slow down and take time with what you are doing. There is always good in every day, so find that moment or activity that brings you pleasure and be present for this delight.

Leave your favourite ways to Hygge in the comments below.

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