Creating Hygge

Louisa Thomsen Brits writes in ‘The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection’, ‘ hygge is a state of mindfulness….(it) affirms the ideas of simplicity, cheerfulness, reciprocity, community and belonging.’

According the the World Happiness Report, Denmark is home to the planet’s happiest people, despite their long, dark winters. What do they have that we are missing? Hygge!  Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, there is no equivalent in the English language, but it embodies coziness, warmth and togetherness. At the core of hygge is the principle that we be present and focus on what really matters in our lives.

Hygge starts at home.  By making small changes, adults and children alike can benefit, bringing happiness to your whole family.

Here are seven ways to introduce Hygge to your family this new year:

  1. Create an atmosphere that promotes warmth and coziness. Light candles or the fireplace. Wear your most comfortable clothes and wrap in snuggly blankets. Have a cup of hot tea or warm apple cider.
  2. Have friends over to your house for a simple dinner and board games. Make it fun for the whole family.
  3. Bake bread or cook with your kids. Find ways to be creative, funny and teach at the same time.
  4. Go outside and play, even if it’s cold and snowy.  In his book ‘Vitamin N: 500 ways to Enrich the Health & Happiness of Your Family & Community and Combat Nature-Deficit Disorder’, Richard Louv includes a whole section on ‘Activities and Safety Tips for Cold, Wet, and Snowy Weather’.  After playing outside together, come in and follow the suggestions in #1!
  5. Read books out loud. Get your kids to read, too. Read funny things. Get everyone laughing.
  6. Put all electronics away. See what comes of the silence. Make it your special time to focus on your family.
  7. Play music and sing and dance.

It is truly as simple as that. In fact, hygge is considered simple in all forms. If it’s hard or stressful, it’s not hygge. What better time to think about bringing hygge into our lives than at the start of the new year? Knowing that happiness can be created through simple acts is empowering. Knowing that you can create happiness for your family is a gift. Use that gift in 2018! Hygge New Year to all from the Bluebird team.

Meghan Tiernan and Kathy Standing

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