3 steps to doing real hygge
Hygge is about safety. But it is also about being present. Therefore, the “power on but on safe mode” metaphor. Hygge is much more than lighting candles, drinking warm drinks and eating sweets. Yeah yeah, this is the fancy stuff, everyone focuses on. Because they are the tangible ones. Easy peasy!
What about the intangible and most important elements of hygge? You can be in a fancy restaurant with candles, wine and delicious food. Is that hygge? Most probably not (although you can find thousands of hyggelig restaurants in Denmark, on Google). Feeling safe and disconnected from the world (and its problems or anxieties) is a prerequisite to feeling hygge.
But what are the 3 essentials for true, authentic hygge? Read on!
1. Preparing & taking the oath
Hygge is not a spontaneous event. It needs all participants to be in the right mood. But hey, what is the right mood? First of all, hygge must be prepared and planned beforehand. It can’t just happen out of the blue. “Hey, we gathered, why not hygge?”. It does not work that way. Hygge is a special time and all participants need to know that the session will take place at a specific day and time and that, should they accept the invitation and attend, they silently take the hygge oath. “I shall respect the rules of hygge and shall not spoil it for me and the others”.
Besides, when you plan something a little bit ahead, there is anticipation and this is a positive feeling (and stimulus for satisfaction). So, whether it is a one-off session or a recurring one (like the dinner time every Sunday), plan and prepare everyone for it.
Work issues? Out. Personal problems? Out. A hard day with the kids? Out. Anxieties? Out. Actually, anything that can distract you and the others from the safe and cosy hygge feeling should be left out of the door. This is a rule. Hygge is the time to feel safe from harm (see above) and disconnect from anything negative. It is all about positivity. Hygge is fragile and needs to be seriously taken care of. One spoiler is enough to destroy the feeling and the good vibe. This is why it is important to emphasize the rules of hygge to all participants.
Needless to say, any devices that cause distraction are to be switched off or at least muted and kept in another room (see mobile phones, tablets, laptops and the likes). What is only allowed is to put a crackling fire video on YouTube and leave it playing (autoplay disabled). You know! Just to warm up the atmosphere.
Is that a joke? Disconnecting was #2 before. Well, yes. Disconnecting from distractions. After that, it is time to reconnect but with what is really worth it: the other people. This is why hygge sessions usually involve family and close friends. No strangers or people you do not know well are allowed, as the lack of bond makes it difficult to connect. Togetherness is maybe the most important element of hygge. Being present and in the moment helps to connect with the vibe and the other people.
Doing things together is also a must. Start by sharing good memories or stories from the past (even your childhood). Things you did together in the past, trips or shared experiences. Recalling positive memories can have a tremendous effect on people’s mood and feeling of togetherness. Other activities can be playing mimic games or board games, even singing together. It is about having fun together. No bragging no show off. Your egos to be left outside the door.