Hey, y’all! There’s a feeling of peace in my house this morning. Everything is quiet and still. I’m curled up under a throw blanket with a hot tea, breathing in serenity. I live for moments like these. I smiled when I pulled out the laptop to write today’s post, thinking this is the epitome of hygge.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the Danish concept of hygge. Pronounced hoo-gah, it doesn’t translate well into English. However, the feeling it describes is universal. Hygge is the cozy contentment resulting from enjoying small blessings. It’s the feeling you get when you read by the fireplace, or when you sip wine by candlelight. At its core, hygge is about embracing comfort, calmness, and intimate connections to bolster happiness.
For those of us who struggle with anxiety, the benefits of incorporating hygge practices into our lifestyles can be far-reaching. Impacting everything from our emotional wellbeing to our mental health. Providing us with comfort and even alleviating anxiety symptoms.
How to Use Hygge to Alleviate Anxiety Symptoms
According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, there are ten-steps to achieving hygge. Let’s take a look at ways you can use these steps to alleviate anxiety symptoms:
Outside of date night, setting the mood is the last thing on many of our minds. It shouldn’t be, though. If you suffer from anxiety, chances are you’re sensitive to the vibes of the places around you. Anything from harsh lighting to unsettling noises can disturb your sense of wellbeing and trigger anxiety.
We may not be able to fix the atmosphere issues everywhere we go, but we do get to set the tone in our own home. It’s easy to create a cozy ambiance conducive to relaxing. Start by switching off overhead lights, lighting candles, playing quiet relaxing sounds, and burning incense. These little fixes won’t cure your anxiety, but they will help you feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
Hygge is all about being in the here and now. If you’re wrapped up in your phone or lost in thought, you miss hyggelig moments when they arise. The solution? Limit your screen time. Turn off the television. Put away the phone at dinner and during social activities. Delete the apps you waste time on. Get involved in the moment.
For most people, less screen time is all it takes to bring them into the present. If you struggle with a disease that bombards you with worry, it might take a bit more work. Adding mindfulness and grounding into the mix can do the trick.
From self-care to dessert, the anxious mind can find a reason to avoid anything. Avoidance is really just another word for self-denial. Self-denial is healthy, in moderation. However, unchecked, self-denial becomes self-destructive.
Hygge encourages you to allow yourself the little indulgences. Enjoy a slice of cake every once in a while, or sleep an extra ten minutes. Relishing in small pleasures can replenish your sense of emotional wellbeing.
Sharing is a big deal in hygge. This doesn’t just mean to share what you have – it also means sharing the burden. From the spotlight to the chores, everything in your life can be shared with another.
The act of sharing benefits mental health in multiple ways. Generosity reduces stress and promotes purpose while allowing another to take on some of your responsibilities can relieve anxiety.
To experience hygge, you must not only notice the small pleasures in your life and enjoy them, but you must be grateful for them. No matter how you choose to show your appreciation, sending thankful vibes out into the world can be healing.
Expressing gratitude has a positive effect on the way we perceive the world around us. Being thankful has been shown to lessen symptoms of depression and help the body sleep better through the night. Better sleep equals less anxiety.
Hygge suggests we can achieve harmony with ourselves and those around us through humility. This is because humility forces us to recognize our own self-worth, and therefore the value of others. Confident in ourselves, we’re less likely to boast or create conflict. Peace flourishes when each member of the group feels secure.
Humility allows us to spot the areas in our life that could use work. Opening us up to self-improvement. It also helps us become more self-aware and boosts self-esteem. As we gain confidence, we experience less anxiety and feel more in tune with the world around us.
If you suffer from anxiety, you’re probably familiar with self-soothing techniques. Providing yourself with comfort when you feel overwhelmed is an excellent way to pull yourself back from the brink of panic.
Finding ways to bring more comfort to your life is the driving force behind hygge. You may do this with fuzzy socks, weighted blankets, or through meditation. Maybe you use all of these tools. It doesn’t really matter how you maximize your comfort level, as long as you’re making it a priority.
In today’s world, conflict is all around us. It’s on television and social media, it sneaks its way into holiday dinners. Arguments are stressful and trigger anxiety.
The hygge response is to call a truce for intimate get-togethers. Bringing peace into our interactions is as simple as avoiding polarizing topics. Politics, religion, and sex have no business showing up to ruin Thanksgiving.
Humans are social creatures, reliant on interaction for emotional security. Hygge suggests we create deeper connections by keeping our gatherings small and intimate. When we’re playing less of a balancing act with who gets our time, we’re able to form stronger bonds.
Large friend groups can be intimidating for those with social anxiety and too dramatic for those with general anxiety. Cutting down the number of friends you have reduces the pressure you feel about social situations. While establishing stronger emotional connections allows you to build a more dependable support group.
Hygge suggests your home is more than a place to store your belongings. Your home is a safe haven for yourself and those you hold most dear. Treat it as such. Spend a little extra on throw pillows and cushy rugs. Display photos of your most treasured memories. Finally, throw out the things that don’t bring you joy.
Scientists and mental health professionals agree that our environments impact the way we feel. When we’re content with our surroundings, we feel less stress and anxiety.
If you read my first post, you know I struggled with severe anxiety for years. Discovering hygge made a huge difference in my life. Before it mornings like this didn’t exist. It’s honestly the best self-care regimen I’ve ever tried. It started my cozy obsession – and even inspired this website. If you haven’t tried it yet, I would definitely recommend it.
P.S. Does hygge work to ease your anxiety? Or do you prefer a different self-care regimen? Drop a comment below to let me know!