One Simple Shift to Happiness
I recently read The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. This book looks at why the Danes are the happiest people in Europe. Despite living in a country that sees over 6 months of darkness and rain.
Growing up in Australia, before moving to London where I have lived the last 14 years. I was fascinated how the Danes did not let the weather impact their moods. Something, I myself have struggled with for years.
As I dived into the book my first challenge after learning how to pronounce the word ‘hygge’ of course was to understand exactly what hygge meant?
The word ‘hygge’ originates from a Norwegian word meaning ‘well-being’. Adopted by the Danes, they believe hygge to be about creating an atmosphere and experience, rather than focusing on the physical things that create this.
Such a simple concept, yet is overlooked by most. I say this because often our focus as humans is on the physical things we either possess or don’t yet possess in life.
It’s this focus on the lack that can leave us feeling empty, inadequate or without in life.
Yet, if we were to shift our focus to the feeling and experience of what we did have then happiness, wellbeing and abundance would increase.
I believe that what we focus on grows.
To clarify, when I say “what we already have” I am not meaning physical possessions as such, but rather the people in our lives.
Research has long supported that health and well-being is linked to the happiness and joy we experience from spending time with our family, friends or community. Something that the Danes have also credited to feeling a greater sense of peace and calmness.
So how can you create a more abundant lifestyle today? Check out The Hygge Manifesto below, taken from The Little Book of Hygge.
The Hygge Manifesto
Create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. A way the Danes combat the darkness and cold is by lighting lots of candles. If you live in a hot country, then perhaps it’s opening the windows so a cool breeze can enter or eating alfresco.
Be here now. When you come into the company of those you love, make the decision to truly be there with them. Switch off all devices such as phones, Ipads or televisions.
This is through the sharing of food. This does not need to be extravagant. An example I like to create with my friends is a cheese board with figs, strawberries and dried fruit. Let it be quality over quantity.
‘We’ over ‘me’. Let everyone be heard as opposed to only a few.
By being present you are able to take the moment in. Focus on what you have in that moment.
It is not a competition, as in you should never go into a room where you feel you need to prove yourself. Love yourself first and others will follow suite.
Get comfortable and relax. Let your guard down and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable at times.
No drama is necessary. Leave the discussion of topics about politics and religion for another day.
Use it as a time to open the memory bank and pull out old stories of one another. Reminisce
Your home, flat or apartment should be your sanctuary. This is where you welcome in your people. Treat it like your castle and it will soon begin to feel like one through the riches of friendship and family.
Hygge is all about simple pleasures. Be it spending time with family, playing games, enjoying a hot drink together to warm the soul, sitting by a fireplace or going for a walk.
Simple yes, but sometimes it is the simple things that work the best.