Are you dragging your feet lately? Finding it hard to get out of bed and get motivated for the day? I am. The sudden cooler temperatures and additional hours of darkness that we get in November in Canada really have an effect on my mood and motivation.
Why than, are the Danish, who experience 6 hours of sunlight and -30 C (-22 F) temperatures in winter, ranked as some of the happiest people on earth? One word: hygge.
Hygge is loosely translated as coziness; wearing warm socks, sipping a hot drink, cozying up with blankets and candles, and gathering with friends and family. Not only does hygge mean to physically get cozy, it’s also about your state of mind or attitude. A recent article in Sage health magazine lists 10 ways the Danish get hygge and the one that really stood out to me is:
“Reflect: Write down three things you’re thankful for at the end of each day; research suggests this can have a positive impact on well-being and help you maintain a more positive outlook” (1).
Most people are familiar with hygge as it’s pretty trendy right now. I wanted to write about it today because this idea of hygge ties into another article I read last night that really resonated with me. The author found herself saying, “I’d reclaim my joy when my circumstances changed. When the baby sleeps through the night … or my husband gets a raise; when we can finally take a vacation … or at least I can take a nap, then I’ll have reason for rejoicing” (2). After reading this, I realized I’ve been doing the same thing lately. I found myself saying, “I’ll really start enjoying myself when the days get longer,” or “when the Christmas season is here” or “when the perfect snowy, sunny day happens.”
To combat this way of thinking, the author’s friend shared her trick: “a little book that changed her life:” A notebook where she jotted down three things that she was thankful for each day. It could be something as simple as the smell of muffins baking in the oven, the sound of your toddler giggling or the sun shining. What may seem like a simple exercise will turn into something bigger; a shift in how you move through your day; with thanks and appreciation vs. grumbling and dread. “Give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18a). Because God knows thanksgiving may not change our situation, but it will always change our soul (2).
I decided to get hygge and jot down some thanks of my own:,
- When I see Jack singing to Max to help me out, and get him to stop crying
- Our family’s health
- Our warm home on cold days where we gather as a family; share a meal, share laughter, tears and just be together
Will you get hygge this winter, and write down three things you’re thankful for at the end of each day?
- Green, Amy. “Gather the Danish Way.” Sage, Nov/Dec. 2017, pp 32-34.
- Bruxvoort, Alicia. “The Power of Giving Thanks.” Proverbs 31, Nov. 14, 2017.