Have you ever taken note of just how influential your surroundings can be to your mood and the way you think? The Danish, aware of the affects of their overly long winters on peoples mental health have addressed lifestyle and have a word for what they perceive as the best of styles. That word is hygge, pronounced hoo-gue, and is basically the creation of an environment that provides comfort and an environment that creates good feeling.
So, let me ask, what brings you that warm secure feeling? Think hard and try to determine where you’re really most comfortable. Me? I like being in a favourite coffee shop where good good music is playing and I’m enjoying a brew with warm pastries. So comforting. Or sitting at home, maybe curled up on the sofa, reading a book and listening to the rain outside on the window. Some evenings I sit on cushions with a glass of wine and just watch the fire burn. That makes me feel at ease. Simple pleasures that exude comfort and security. Places where there are no needs for me to be proving or justifying myself. Places where one can surrender all the trappings of achievement, the supposed requirements of a notable life and the necessity to acquire things to mark out success as we pass through this time.
Hygge is for me about a place where I can abandon opinion and judgement, those poor companions who have long travelled with me. Where I don’t need the achievements that I have so often relied on to justify life but rather realise comfort in what I have in the moment. It’s about mindfulness and being here in all my senses right now rather than setting happiness on something I imagine is yet to come.
I’m wondering if so many of us lose the delights of this life due to our constant future focus which is all based on imaginings. I mean, which of us knows what the future holds and how we will get there, if indeed we will? Who knows if we have a tomorrow so we must make the most of this day and all it offers. And believe me if I take this opportunity to tell you that it’s the simple pleasures that will comfort body and mind the most.
The Danes have discovered this and created a comforting healthy environment with simple things. Good food, warm comfortable rooms, calming atmospheres using fires, candles, blankets. They value good company and good conversation. No need to add more possessions or achievements. Just enjoying what they have in the best possible way. Appreciating the joy that can be found in the moment.
Try focusing on what you have today. Take time to enjoy it because finding satisfaction here may change the rest of your life.
Yours, in this moment,