Directing the Search for Happiness
An intrinsic part of Danish culture is Hygge, pronounced 'Hue-gah', a word that has no one single meaning. Hygge is used to describe a way of being, enjoying life's simple things and simple pleasures.
Like Mindfulness, which also has no single meaning, the best way to understand Hygge is to experience it.
Hygge is generally described as lingering over life's simple pleasures. Spending time with those you love, socialising, finding calm in a busy world, taking time out in nature. Warm fires, wrapped in blankets, surrounded by candles, enjoying good food and good times. No wonder Denmark was voted the Happiest Country in the World 2016.
It's no coincidence that Hygge sounds like the English word hug. The word hug finds its roots in the practise of cherishing ones-self. Whilst Hygge is the physical 'hug', Mindfulness is the 'hug' you can provide for your mind, refocusing our awareness away from our thoughts and back to our bodies. When we are living within our busy minds we get caught up in our thoughts and lose awareness of how those thoughts drive our reactions and behaviours, often in an unhelpful way.
Mindfulness is the practise of 'having full awareness of ourselves in the present moment'.
Its acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts and sensations in a non judgemental, compassionate way, not only about ourselves but also other people. Once we are aware, we can then provide ourselves with space, in order that we can respond to situations, thoughts and experiences in a positive and wise manner.
Hygge has taken off in a big way in the UK, on the lead up to Christmas the shelves of book stores and supermarkets are loaded with books on the subject. It's no coincidence that at the same time the practise of Mindfulness has also made its way into our consciousness.
This appetite to educate ourselves in the art of happiness and peace is a natural and deeply felt human desire. We search for these seemingly elusive feelings in many and varied ways, when all the time the answer is within ourselves and how we choose to structure our relationships and our surroundings.
Alex Kent: training to become a Focussed Mindfulness practitioner.