March 22, 2021
What is that one thing that all the humans on planet earth equally desire and strive to achieve? The simple one-word answer is "Happiness".
Happiness manifests itself in various forms, shapes and experiences. We might not always realize what we want, but the true end goal for all humans is to be happy. It is a fact that happiness is not present at some remote location that needs to be accessed by spending money or working hard. It is a feeling that can be experienced through simple ordinary things in life.
So where exactly does happiness reside? And what is the way to achieve it?
Many theories explain the pursuit of happiness. Hygge is the Scandinavian concept that focuses on some simple everyday practices to generate comfort, tranquility and happiness in the current moments. It is a general state of mind that highlights the importance of inculcating happy moments into everyday life
Hygge is a Danish concept that is pronounced as "hoo-ga" or "hue-guy". But what does this word mean?
Meik Wiking, is the author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living, and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He explains, that hygge cannot be translated into a single word or phrase. It encompasses a feeling of coziness, contentment and well being that is attained by living in the present moment and enjoying simple little things in life. In his book, Wiking explains that the key ingredients of hygge are relaxation, comfort, indulgence and togetherness.
Sipping a cup of hot coffee, while reading your favorite book, snuggled in a cozy blanket, is an experience of hygge. This concept focuses on consciously finding pleasure by setting up your environment in a cozy, calm, warm and lovable way. Taking a walk in a beautiful garden full fresh flowers and taking in the freshness, is Hygge. It is a feeling that cannot be linked to particular experiences. Rather it is quite subjective, Hygge can mean something different to everyone. You just need to discover what makes you comfortable and happy in the current moment and try to devour those moments of joy with open arms. Happiness resides more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom. So Hygge highlights the importance of celebrating such moments mindfully.
This word " hygge" appeared in the 1800s and is derived from the Norwegian word hugga which means "well being" and can also be related to the English word hug. This concept has long been an integral part of Danish culture and lifestyle. In Denmark, this word is used both as a noun and adjective. Scandinavian embrace hygge on a regular basis. It’s built into their culture. In the UK, it got into the limelight in 2016, when several books were published on this topic. In 2017, it got lots of fame in America. In a span of a few months, Hygge was not only covered by The New York Times to The New Yorker but several books were also published on this single concept. It's popularity on various social media platforms also spiked to high levels. Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter we're flooded with content related to it and people commenting on "hygge". It also made its place in the 2016 shortlist for Oxford's Word of the Year.
Life is full of challenges. Each day is a new struggle. Keeping our eyes on the future we overwork, get over stressed and distracted. Amidst all this hustle and bustle we humans tend to overlook so many beautiful moments in life. Wrestling with time and our to do list we seldom realize that the current moment that we are in, is the most precious one.
Hygge brings out the importance of living in the current moment and enjoying simple things in your environment. It is a conscious effort to slow down and set up a space as simple as a cozy blanket or lit up some scented candles, in order to enjoy the feel and ambiance. Entertaining yourself with the food you love and spending quality time with the people you value.
It doesn't ask you to spend a fortune throwing a big fancy party or to invest in overly expensive branded clothing or home décor. Hygge is to light up candles, eat warm delicious food such as a chocolate cake, read a book, spend time with friends and do anything and everything that gives you a feeling of coziness, togetherness and happiness.
It is not a foreign concept that needs to be learned. You just need to train your mind to enjoy what you have in the best possible manner. Running after future goals and ignoring the beauty of current moments leaves humans exhausted. Hygge brings in happiness, comfort and togetherness by simple yet most joyful experiences.
"Happiness already exists in your life. All you need to do is tune into it. And you can start doing that right now."
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