Hygge: pronounced Hoo-Ga
This word is from the danish region of the world and does not have a great translation to English, so it remains Hygge. A loose translation would be a cozy environment that is a lifestyle in the Nordic countries. Picture this: In good company, a dim-lit room with candles, a crackling fire, maybe light music playing, comfortable blankets, couches, pillows, and an aromatic stew simmering on the stove. Devoid of electronic screens.
Well this is exactly what our ancestors experienced as normal-everyday-life. This is not only absent, but foreign, in today’s westernized society. Smart phones keep people instantly connected to news and information all over the world, and to ‘friends’ that wouldn’t be friends if the internet crashed. Perhaps this technology jump was too much in the recent years for the delicate human conscious. In recent studies, researchers find more screen time is correlated to more depression and anxiety.
Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the authoritative expert in regards to Hygge; authoring the book: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. He recognized that people living in the Nordic countries are the happiest in the world (Top 5 happiest countries: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands). In his research he finds these are some of the highest taxed countries in the world (~50%), but yet the lifestyle promotes stress-free living. This lifestyle is referred to as Hygge.
I recently got back from a weekend trip up to vermont that was inspired by hygge. Cabin in the woods, fireplace, good company, board games, and no mention of the Kardashians or other ‘influencers’.
I am not anti-technology. It is so great that we have these innovations; we can use them to our advantage to improve our lives and lives of others. But we need to manage our time, and not let them control our minds. Everything in moderation, the middle path.
SO, perhaps you’ve reached your time limit with facebook scrolling today, it is okay to turn off your screen now and go light a candle and relax like your body knows how to. I am making an effort to leave my phone with my keys and wallet at the front door 1 night a week to promote a less-tech evening in my residence. I hope this blog inspires you to get a little hygge-ly once in a while. Stay cozy!