Are you longing for simplicity? Are you craving connection with your friends and loved ones? Do you struggle in today’s world to find peace and happiness?
Recently I read that even though Denmark experiences long dark, grueling winters and have high taxes, their people have been deemed the happiest people on the planet. I found myself curious about what the Happiness Research Institute found on the subject of quality of life, well-being and happiness. One of their ingredients for happiness is the Danish word “hygge” (pronounced ‘hoo-guh’). You may have seen this hashtag on Instagram with posts accompanied by twinkling lights, cozy socks, cocoa by candle light and togetherness. Hygge is described as the art of creating warmth, connection and a sense of well-being. It is contentment found in simplicity and being present in the rituals of life. It is the hug you didn’t know you were missing.
Now, I realize it isn’t always possible to create the picture-perfect world, and we understand all of us pass through times of trouble when hygge may seem all but impossible. However, as our lives will permit, there is certainly no harm in finding peace and beauty during the chaos and demands of daily life. If you think about it, it is the followers of Jesus who are uniquely equipped to turn to the Prince of Peace as their chief resource of all happiness.
The following are 5 ways Christians can leverage hygge to increase a sense of peace and happiness
- Light a candle and write out Scripture
In the winter when we have dark evenings, light a beautiful candle and write out Bible verses that speak to you about joy and peace. Use washi tape to hang them on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Lighting a candle is one way to remember Jesus is the light of the world. Ultimately, your soul should find its rest in God.
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” Mt. 5:15
- Visit your “thin place”
Take time in your week to go to those places that bring you a sense of calmness. For some people these places are the beach, the mountains, the forest or a beautiful church. I call these places your “thin place” because this is where you feel the closeness of the God of the universe. Taking time to retreat and rest will replenish and re-energize your soul. Even in the hustle and bustle of the city you can find these places. For example, I used to head out on lunch to a roof garden in downtown San Francisco to read and reflect.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Ps. 19:1
- Belonging and hospitality
We all have a need to be connected and be close to others. The relationships we form affect our happiness and contribute to our well-being. Ask Jesus how he would want you to be hospitable or notice in the church how he wants to set you in a family and to form connections with others. If you haven’t joined a small group, you can miss out on finding the joy of fellowshipping with others. Turn off your devices and spend time listening to others.
“God sets the lonely in families.” Ps. 68:6
- Live in the present moment
Often times we find ourselves worrying about the future or perseverating over our past. God’s grace is for today. He has warned us not to worry. Focusing on the present protects us from fear and creates intimacy and connection with your friends and family.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10
- Cultivating gratefulness and thankfulness
Crafting a life of gratefulness and thankfulness is a rich platform for happiness and peace. It helps us to see the bigger picture and is an attraction to God and others. I love using the acronym ACTS when praying to God: Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness and Supplication.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:16-18
May this new year be filled with His peace and happiness in the good as well as the hard times.