Until this day I have a vivid memory of studying at a coffee shop in my college town. I sat next to a roaring fire, with a hot drink in hand while I prepared for my last final before Winter Break. Holiday music quietly played in the background and the festive feel was topped off by a snowstorm outside. I remember feeling connected to the other students around me as they studied. It was as if we all had this unspoken commonality of experiencing this comfortable vibe.
Think back to a time and place that made you feel connected to those around you. Conjure up a memory evoking coziness. What kind of environment gives you that same sensation now? Has it been a while since you experienced a feeling of comfort and togetherness or is it part of your daily life?
For many years Denmark has been ranked in the top five Happiest countries in the world according to the World Happiness Report. Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, shines light on some of the Danes’ “feel good” practices in his book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. One of those practices involves generating a feeling of comfort and togetherness.
Chances are, this idea is not revolutionary to you. Yet, if you really reflect on the components that create this ambiance in your home, you may realize that there are little changes you can make to increase this feeling on a daily basis without even leaving the house.
1.) Relax.- Okay. Definitely not an earth shattering suggestion. Think about it though. Do you sit down and relax? Or are you always doing something? Between work, school, household chores, and everything else in our lives, we tend to go, go, go. Being productive is one thing, but burning out is another. These days even kids are feeling the stress of a fast paced life and have less and less time to play and pursue their passions due to being over-scheduled. So schedule “Do Nothing Time.” Make a point to make this time as big of a priority. Say “no” to other requests and value the opportunity to take a breather.
2.) Be Present.- This is another one that seems obvious, yet we are often multi-tasking. We stare at our phones while “listening” to our spouses. We even lay next to our partners simultaneously scrolling social media feeds before bed. We have the TV on in the background when we do household chores or play with our kids. We often need to have some sort of noise. Stop pretending to listen to people talk while you attempt to get something else done. Actually stop what you are doing and be in the moment.
3.) Share Sweets.- According to Meik Wiking, the Danes eat double the sweets as other European countries. They know all about sharing a high quality treat. It’s not about over indulging. Think quality over quantity. Pick your treats wisely. Decadent dark chocolate filled pastries beat store brand cookies with a six month shelf life. This mindful sharing of good eats with friends and loved ones is a big part of Danish culture that fosters a feeling of coziness, comradeship, and togetherness.
4.) Embrace the Calm of Hot Drinks.- This doesn’t entail chugging a coffee on the go. It’s about enjoying the warm feeling you get from the inside out while sipping something hot. People sometimes wait until they are sick to drink soothing tea, but the Danes know all about enjoying hot beverages year round. It about savoring each drop (as well as the time with people around you) rather than trying to do something else while consuming it.
These are four practices that at first glance seem obvious, but when you examine the practices of your daily life, you might not be able to honestly say that you are living like the Danes. So to combine all four of these some time soon: Enjoy time with a friend or loved one over your favorite hot beverage and decadent sweet treat. Relax and be present. Do nothing else! Simple right? Try it. You be the judge!
Part of EnlightenMENTE’s six phase Commit to Thrive program entails creating positive emotions by integrating practices that lend themselves to a happier more deliberate life!
http://hyggehouse.com/hygge Retrieved Feb. 13, 2018
Wiking, Meik, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.