While we’re all enjoying the golden warmth of fall as we sip on our pumpkin spice lattes and re-watch Hocus Pocus for the five millionth time, we can’t ignore the fact that winter is right around the corner. And if you’re like us, during the long, cold, gray winter months you tend to gravitate toward comfort meals, staying home more, and bundling up in your comfies. Sometimes we find ourselves even, dare we say, enjoying the coziness of the season, which brings us to our topic of hygge.
What is Hygge?
First things first, it’s pronounced “HOO-gah”. (You’re welcome.) And hygge is a mindset that originated in Denmark and the whole idea is that you practice deliberate moments of cozy comfort to improve your overall well-being, like being wrapped up in a warm hug at all times. For some people, this is that glorious moment you get comfy on the couch and crack open a book you haven’t been able to put down, for others it could be putting on those warm oversized sweatpants and sweatshirt at the end of a cold day, and for a lot of us it’s that first sip of hot coffee in the morning. There’s no wrong or right way to achieve hygge, it’s just whatever makes you feel warm and cozy.
Psychological Benefits of Hygge
Creating a cozy atmosphere makes us feel less anxious and gives us a sense of well-being and safety. There are a number of emotional benefits associated with hygge such as increased optimism, lower stress, a greater sense of mindfulness, improved self-compassion, and increased practice of gratitude.
When we feel warm and cozy inside, our bodies respond accordingly. Knowing, understanding, and promoting hygge puts our mind and bodies at ease, so our natural instinct isn’t to fight or flight but to simply relax. Physical benefits of hygge include better sleep, fewer spikes in stress levels, and a reduced need for unhealthy coping behaviors like drinking or smoking.
When you’re actively practicing hygge you’re savoring the everyday things, so you can’t help but practice gratitude. And lots of it. If you’re scared these moments will get away from you too quickly, a great way to make sure you’re noticing all of the wonderful little moments is to keep a gratitude journal.
How to Achieve Hygge
We know what hygge is, we know that there are some major benefits, but how can we achieve hygge? As we said there are no right or wrong ways to become one with the hygge lifestyle, but we can look at some basic elements such as creating a warm ambiance by lighting candles. Another way to achieve hygge is to surround yourself with natural elements such as wood, plants, and flowers. Likewise, turning your phone off, cooking your favorite comfort meal, curling up with your softest, warmest blankets, and simply slowing down and enjoying the moment are all ways we can create a comforting atmosphere that will put us at ease.