There is a term that has been sweeping the internet for the last couple of years and that term is “hygge.” What is hygge?
Hygge is a Danish word made famous by Meik Wiking in his book “The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live Well.” He describes hygge as meaning comfort, warmth, and togetherness. It is about finding happiness and comfort in the simple everyday things of life. When I first heard this word and its meaning, I was over-the-top excited. It described the exact lifestyle I have been trying to live. Now I have an actual word to describe it!
That is why I am super excited to share with you my ideas on how to create a hygge lifestyle. I will be sharing these ideas over the next three weeks so be sure to stay tuned for the next two articles on this topic.
My first tip is in many ways the most important, but yet the most difficult. Here it is:
So much of our lives seem to be controlled by technology. We use it for work, and we use it for play. While no one can refute that technology can be very useful, studies have shown that technology has a major negative impact on our brain health. The Guardian published an article called Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain, in which neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin states the following:
“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.
…Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebookupdater, and flashlight.
….Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient. Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.”
That sounds exactly the opposite of hygge. So if you want to experience a hygge lifestyle, you must deliberately unplug during times when the use of technology is not absolutely required. This could include reading printed paper books, writing in an actual notebook, or playing old-fashioned type games. Maybe it’s time to go back to Grandma’s crossword puzzles, Dad’s paper-backed dictionary, or Mom’s pocket planner.
Unplugging is also vital in reconnecting with others. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the definition of hygge includes “togetherness.” It is difficult to experience “togetherness” when each individual is swallowed up in their own phone. Though called “social” media, this modern phenomena is anything but social. Real socializing begins when the phones are put down and the computer and TV are shut off. Then we can take time to re-connect in a real, not virtual, environment.
I encourage you this weekend to unplug and experience a little bit of hyyge.
Until next week, have a hygge life!