Discover “Hygge”: from Coziness to Happiness

A smell, a moment, a taste, a glimpse of something, a memory, a good laugh… Have you ever experienced that feeling of realizing “Ahh… This is nice.”?

I would bet that we all have, and that we all can savor a special moment. The Danish go even one step further, by giving a name to it and making it a habit of living. They call it Hygge.

Today I want to share with you some insights about this lifestyle. You will learn to develop this feeling of well-being, comfort, contentment, and happiness.

What is Hygge ?

The direct translation from Danish of Hygge is “to give courage, comfort, joy”. It can be compared to Gezelligheit in Dutch, Gemütlichkeit in German, or even Mattari in Japanese.

Hygge is a feeling. It is not something you can buy by itself.

i is the contentment feeling you feel when you realize the quality of the present moment. It is the acknowledgement of conviviality, slowness, intimacy, safety, peacefulness, comfort, or cheerfulness.

The Hygge spirit can be felt at home, at work (yes yes!), alone or with friends, on vacation, etc.

It is the pleasant experience of everyday togetherness. It brings a feeling of wholeness, relaxation, indulgence, and equality. Hygge is the art of comfort and contentment, a road to happiness.

How do you pronounce Hygge ?

I would not be the expert here! It has Danish and Norwegian roots and seems to be pronounce something like “hoo-gah”. But let’s say that the pronunciation is not as important as the concept. I am sure that if you meet a Danish person, they will be happy to pronounce it for you and explain you more about it!

How do you get more of Hygge ? How does it work?

Hygge is the acknowledgment of a special feeling or a special moment. I am sure that there are things in your life that you particularly enjoy and savor. You know ways to indulge yourself, during the hard, cold, dark days, or even during these summery corona-crisis days…

Now is time to develop Hygge!

At home, on vacation, by yourself or with your loved ones…

Look for little things you can do to improve your quality of life.

Imagine yourself in winter, on your cozy sofa, enjoying a nice cup of coffee or a hot chocolate under a fluffy blanket…

Or in summer, with your friends around a grilling barbecue, a cold beer in hand…

I love that moment at nightfall, when the colors of the sky change and you can feel a little breeze.


How can you reorganize your home to make it cozier?

Your home becomes the nest you want to go back to from the harsh outside world. 

One way is to include natural elements, such as wood, soft materials and textiles, and many candles. I am crazy about pillows, candles, and small lights! Dimming the lights or choosing warm tones immediately makes the ambiance more relaxing.

Remember that the Scandinavian design is rather minimalist and simple. It is not about the new, expensive, and fancy stuff, but rather that comfy old socks you like so much.

You can indeed increase this feeling of Hygge through your choice of clothes. When you come home, switch to your comfortable shorts or pants, and put on your favorite slippers (and remove your bra, for those who know what I mean!). That will put you in the mood right away!


How can you develop a sense of connection with the people around you?

You can also make your life outside of your home a little bit more Hygge

When you are with friends, family, coworkers or even your neighbors, focus on the togetherness and quality time.

At work, think how to set up celebratory events, even virtually. I am a celebrations fanatic and I always find something or someone to cheer for! This changes from the routine and triggers you and the others to enjoy the present moment. And remember to take time to acknowledge it together.

In your neighborhood, you can put in place a free library book exchange, or a community garden… Find out what can unite everyone.

With your family or friends, create a new routine to put it place. It will become something to look forward to! Define an afternoon per month of playing board games together… a dinner at each other’s’ places… a regular Prosecco tasting… a movie night with pop-corn… or even a night baking together…

By developing these habits and behaviors, you take life at a slower pace. You can lay-back, complain less and appreciate more. This way, your mind releases stress and anxiety and focuses on the happy little things. It is definitely worth trying!

To go further…

If you want to read more, you can refer to my Free Resources on this website. I recommend “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.  But there are many equally good books on the concept. There are even shops that sell you all the must-have Hygge products for your home.

Best is still to experience it by yourself, at home or with friends! And why not, once the pandemic has calmed down, go for a cultural visit in Denmark itself!

I would be happy to discuss this more with you and read your comments on how you make your day hyggelig!

If you prefer watching me talk about this article, check my video on LinkedIn!

Published on July 30, 2020