The philosophy of hygge, or what we can learn from the Danes

The hygge philosophy of the Danes - who have been near the top of the happiness rankings in recent years - has now conquered the whole world. They are characterized by harmony, a lifestyle close to nature, inner peace and satisfaction, which is not as difficult to achieve as one might think at first. Let’s learn from them!

Cover Image by bernandbodo

What is hygge actually?

The term hygge comes from the old Norwegian and means in Danish and also in Norwegian something like cosiness, well-being, warmth, and comfort. The primary purpose of hygge is to break away from the everyday rush for a little bit, take time slowly together or even alone. Sharing a home-cooked meal or drink together, meeting up with family or close friends for a board game night, picnic or a home cinema makes the real hygge vibe. Focusing on the now and noticing small joys can bring huge changes to our everyday life. 

Cold winters make the best ideas

As we can all imagine, winters in the northern half of the world can be quite harsh. Unpredictable rains, blizzards, sun hardly seen for months… The ancestors of today’s Danes developed the hygge lifestyle accordingly to this, adapting to the changes in the weather and the seasons. So seasonality plays a big role in hygge. While in the winter we prefer to stay indoors, bake and cook, play cards with the family or visit a cozy little cafe, in the summer we prefer to be outdoors, go on big hikes or organize a picnic gathering next to a lake. However, one thing is certain: by following the simple rules of hygge, we can easily find quality and comfortable pastimes for us every month of the year.

Image by Cairilon Clinic

The perfect home environment

The furnishing of our home plays a huge role in mastering hygge. This is the place where we wake up every morning, where we can prepare for the challenges that await us in the world and where we can return after a tiring day for a well-deserved rest. So our home should always be an island of peace and tranquillity so that we can be filled with similar energies.

Candles – No candles, no hygge home. That is kind of a golden rule. Using dimmer candles instead of intense electric lights will immediately help you slow down your mind and it creates a hundred times cosier space at home. Not to mention that the soft scent of the candles will send you to another dimension.

Blankets, pillows – Walking around in the world, our body comes into contact with a variety of materials every day. A hygge home does not leave this to chance either. Changing into comfortable home wear, snuggling up in front of the fireplace with warm, soft blankets and hoodies with a mug of tea is basic for the Danes. Everything for comfort!

Bring the outside in! – In order to always feel close to Mother Nature (yes, even when there is a windstorm outside and minus many degrees), it is good to surround yourself with natural materials and colors. Use lots of wood, get plants and let in as much natural light as possible!

Image by Isango

The bases of everything: Collectivity

In the basic philosophy of hygge, the jointly accepted values of the founding nation, the Danes, naturally appear. Such a collective value is, for example, the provision of equal conditions (education, healthcare) and close and deepened family relationships. This is the basis of hygge. The meeting of people’s psychologically safe family and friendship relationships with the previously mentioned, also safe educational and health frameworks of the outside world creates happiness and satisfaction that is admired by the whole world.

Start today!

Coming from Denmark, hygge made its way through the world. And the best thing is, that you can master its philosophy as well as its practice easily. Just always remember: hygge is not about getting drunk with your friends on a Friday evening (though it can be fun sometimes). It’s all about slowing down and looking for the smaller joys in life together, accompanied by some home-baked goodies and a hot chocolate or tea. Also, it’s more of a lifestyle than a one-time event, so don’t forget to spend quality time with friends and family every day, because maybe this philosophy – tested by the Danes for centuries – will lead you to the so-called balance and happiness.