Here in West Michigan, schools and businesses are shut down due to the snow storm and there’s an unnerving, yet, tranquil quietness in the air. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 30th, considered one of the coldest days of the year, I woke up preparing to start my day and I felt something was “off”- just not quite right. For months, I had inadvertently created a tradition- a moment in time that is cozy, charming and special to me- a form of hygge (a Dutch word pronounced Hue-guh). This moment had been interrupted for um... about a week...and I hadn’t realized the importance of this ritual -until I was triggered by a familiar aroma followed by positive memories flooding in.
So what interfered with my hygge? Just guess… A misplaced tea kettle. Someone in my household removed my yellow floral tea kettle from it’s normal location.
What is Hygge?
Hygge is a Dutch word meaning- Cozy, charming and special- to recognize a special feeling. It’s not something you make time for, a chore, or something one forces into a schedule. Hygge is simply being in the present and enjoying that moment for what it is. For me, waking up and warming water in this particular tea kettle to brew my favorite tea, Cup of Calm, while conversing with my family became a calming and mindful moment for me which special memories were and continue to be created.
Hygge vs Mindfulness
So, you may be wondering- this sounds like mindfulness! Yes, indeed it does. I tend to think of hygge as Mindfulness Intensified. Mindfulness is very similar to hygge in a sense. When someone is asked to be mindful he/she is asked to be present with no judgment of good or bad. They are also asked to pay close attention to the emotions and physical sensations at that time. This can be helpful for many as it helps one to learn more about their emotional and body responses, including gaining insight into why one is responding in that way emotionally and physically.
But hygge is a way of living within your lifestyle.
Rumination about future events is the hallmark of anxiety, while feeling unsafe and the inability to feel in control and flashbacks is synonymous of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. Because of these negative concepts associated with trauma, I often provide education to my clients about the way pleasant and unpleasant memories are formed in the brain. Memories, good or bad, are created by our five senses- sight, sound, taste, smell and feel connecting to our experiences. Depending on what you are experiencing now can impact your response to future triggers. So why not make intentional and enjoyable moments so that when triggered you can have more calming, encouraging and affirming moments in your life?
Applying Hygge in your life
Hygge doesn’t have to be a daily routine. Hygge can occur weekly or monthly, socially or in solitude. It can be merely taking a weekly walk to your favorite spot or a monthly volunteering opportunity. As for me, my hygge is a daily activity. So my plan to recommence my hygge is to move the tea kettle right back to its designated spot daily before nightfall; because those pleasant, enjoyable, and sometimes humorous moments are worth fond remembrances.
If you need ideas to create hygge into your life, check out this blog article End Your Day In A Positive Way.
What do you wish to incorporate into your life as an enjoyable moment? Comment below to share ways you’ve used hygge.
This blog post was inspired by the Hygge House.
Written by: Reynelda Jones, LMSW, CAADC,ADS
Owner and Therapist of A Solution B
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