Hygge for mental health

hygge mental health

Although there is no literal translation, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) alludes to a feeling of cozy intimacy and contentment. It's all about creating feelings of happiness, friendliness and wellbeing within everyday life.

It's about finding deeper meaning within ordinary life and establishing a meaningful, mindful connection with the world. Hygge is not about grand gestures, but rather, embracing little luxuries everyday in order to foster a sense of familiarity, comfort and kinship. How lovely.

So, as the darker evenings draw in, it's time to hunker down, settle in and do as the Danes do. Here's how:

1. Spend quality time with friends and family.

We all know that having a good time with people we love makes us happy. But when was the last time you sat around a big table with all of your nearest and dearest and shared stories until the wee hours? Laughing, joking and drinking homemade apple cider—this is hygge.



2. Sit by a roaring log fire.

Few things evoke feelings of coziness and warmth more than a roaring fire during the coldest months. A proper "hyggeligt" (translate: cozy) fire should, of course, use real wood. In fact, a real hyggeligt living room should certainly have its own log pile.



3. Keep things simple.

Why spend hours cooped up in the kitchen, agonizing over recipe books to create complicated dishes. Do things the Danish way and keep the food simple, whether that be a heart-warming soup or simple roast chicken, always opt for something delicious that can be cooked with minimum fuss.



4. Dim the lights and use candles instead.

Danes love candles, and so do we. The flickering flames create an ephemeral glow and add a brooding sense of atmosphere to even the dankest room. But be warned, never go for the scented kind. Nothing about hygge is artificial – not even the candles. Beeswax is best.


5. Decorate the inside with the outside.

Here at Country Living, we believe a happy, healthy life is one lived within nature. But sometimes it's just too chilly to go outside. To counteract this, Danes are big fans of bringing the outdoors inside: Think exposed stone walls, wooden floors, huge tables made from great trees and, of course, big piles of logs ready to be thrown on a roaring open fire.



6. Bake bread.

The smell of a freshly baked rustic loaf wafting through the house is about as hygge is it gets. Kneading the dough can be very cathartic and tucking into a home-made bake, straight from the oven, with family and friends, is one of life's great simple pleasures.



7. Drink cocoa.

Preferably stirred slowly over a hot stove and made using fine, real chocolate, cream and milk, then poured into big mugs and consumed in your cozy living room with friends. Mmmm delicious.



8. Don't deprive yourself.

Hygge is all about indulging in the good things in life, the things that make us truly happy – which, yes, often means eating cake and pastry. Well, we don't mind if we do!


9. Get outside.

There's more to hygge than staying cooped up indoors. You see, it's all about balance and living a good, healthy life – so exposure to nature is absolutely key. Going for a wellie walk wearing a warm scarf with the wind whipping up your hair – that's 100% hygge too (so long as you dive straight back to the sofa afterwards to enjoy a cup of cocoa).

10. Pick up a book.

Although hygge encompasses a feeling of familiarity and togetherness, you can still achieve it alone. There are few things more hygge than cuddling up under a blanket and getting sucked into a proper, paper book – rather than the electronic kind. Is there anything more exquisite than that new book smell?



11. Put down the iPhone.

Hygge is the antidote to modern life. It's all about embracing these experiences fully and living in the moment, which is difficult to do when staring at a teeny weeny screen. So put down the phone and enjoy the feeling!


So, will you try it?

 

Read the original story by Country Living here


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