Hygge, pronounced "Hue-Guh", is a Danish concept on the art of living. Although it cannot be translated into a single word, hygge relates most closely to the “happiness which money can’t buy.” Nowadays, everything is an excuse to make your daily life more hygge. Just a passing fad, or a real art of living?
Why is it a source of inspiration?
Denmark is both fascinating and intriguing. Despite having weather that could deter more than some, the country was nominated several times as the world's happiest country by The World Happiness Report. But what exactly makes Danish people so happy? No wonder they are a source of inspiration; their most sough-after secret is called hygge. The idea behind this word is to live fully in the present moment. Therefore, answering emails and posting on Instagram or Twitter at anytime is out of the question. Since this moment doesn’t allow for any external distractions, one must cut off all access to a phone or a computer. It's a return to authenticity and to enjoying simple things in life, along with candles, a fireplace, a hot drink and a big sweater for a warm and cozy winter.
Along with this return to authenticity, the “hyggists” promote many other activities, such as practicing yoga and meditation, reading, drawing, gardening…. Anything that helps one relax, be in the company of others and treat oneself.
Why does it make us feel good?
From house furniture to make-up products, today anything goes when it comes to bringing some “hygge” to our lives--and sometimes with no valid reason required! Even brands now eagerly use the hygge connotation to sell their products. Fashion and beauty bloggers are also surfing the trend by posting hygge-inspired photos with pastel colours, which may cause the concept to lose a bit of credibility.
However, in Danish culture hygge is more than a passing fad with superficial appearances: it is a lifestyle that is deeply instilled and one of the main causes of the country's well-being, according to Meik Viking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen and author of the best-seller The Little Book Of Hygge:
The beauty of this lifestyle also lies in its authenticity. It is going beyond the diktats of passing trends and finding a rhythm of life in accordance with our needs and personality. To stop racing against time would allow us to better appreciate and feel the comfort of the present moment. But in order to do so, we need to allow ourselves to shut our phones off and disconnect from social media. Let’s hide and live happily: this also is the subliminal message which Hygge seems to advocate.
By Leslie Dion