How I Deal With A Bad Day
Last week I posted about hygge – a key element in Danish living. And while it is Danish in origin, its essence is universal. Its unique to the person and looks different depending on who you ask. And it should be. Everyone finds happiness in their own ways, sometimes it is just a matter of being aware of the good surrounding you - and other times it is consciously creating it for yourself and for others.
Below is an excerpt that I personally loved from the book Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg sharing how an elderly woman finds her hygge.
“Anna Elisabeth George is a Visiting Friend for many of the elderly people in her local area who are having a hard time, either because of illness or because old age has taken hold. While she is well and both health and mind are in top form, she feels she might as well pass some of the care that she has received during her life onto others.
‘I bring the rolls and coffee with me when I go visiting, and I almost always start by asking how they feel. It is essential that the visit is on their terms, and it is important to listen. If they spend a large part of the day alone, they often have a lot to say. We talk about their health and how their family is doing and what the grandchildren are up to. Sometimes we sing together – songs they remember from their youth or evening songs. If they are in pain, we sometimes say a prayer for them. On the whole, it is about being present. When I feel that they are getting tired, I go home.
Sometimes I bring cake, and then its best if its apple cake, because everyone can chew that. We don’t have so many teeth left – though the ones I have are my own and they’re quite secure! The coffee is the most important thing though, because then it doesn’t matter if the conversation stops. Then we take just a sip of coffee and enjoy the silence for a moment.
To hygge yourself and feel good with others, that’s life. It helps you retain a sharp mind. I’ve lost two daughters and my husband to a hereditary disease, and you need time to deal with that. But there comes a point when sorrow can’t be allowed to fill your days and, instead, you have to be happy for all the good times you had together. I think that with a sharp mind and little hygge every day, you can live a happy life in spite of what life throws at you.’”
Anna realized she could have stayed in her grief and sadness but instead made changes to her life to allow her to find happiness again. In doing so, she found her hygge.
Adopting this idea of hygge has helped bring change into my own life. I’ve began to notice the moments that bring me the most happiness and I am able to draw on them when I need it the most.
To me, hygge is
- The smell of the salt being carried by the sea
- A dinner party with friends and fantastic food
- The feeling when my alarm goes off in the morning and I am acutely aware of the weight of my duvet, the softness of my pillow, the coolness of the air around me, and how I just so happened to find the most comfortable position. It’s a fleeting moment soon to be interrupted by another alarm, but it’s a good one.
- When a day starts with brunch with great friends, that turns into dinner, that turns into a late night session because nobody wants it to end
- Laughing with family over old jokes and shared experiences
- Stepping foot into an airport knowing that an adventure is about to happen
- That moment when smiling lips come to rest
- Being so absorbed in a book that I am oblivious of my surroundings
- When the air is the perfect temperature that its barely discernible on your skin
- Being moved by a good film or song
- The unreasonable weightlessness of finishing a long hike and noticing how the fresh air is living in my lungs
- When I step inside after a cold snowy day and put on my thickest socks
This list helps me know what to seek out when I feel like everything isn’t going to plan or I’m having a bad day.
Hygge is about being mindful to the happiness around you. This may require a significant change in many people’s fast-paced lives. Some of the best hygge moments can occur when things do not go according to your plans – the train breaks down or the electricity goes out. To some, this will require a deliberate shift to embrace the change. To seek the simplicity and see the good in the little moments.
The better we are able to understand all the nuances of hygge and what they mean to us, the easier we will be able to realize when we need it, embrace it, and share it. A little change has the potential to bring a lot of happiness.
Malinda Meadows is an Ohio native who was letting grief blanket her life.
She found healing through traveling and nature. She discovered changes of location led to changes in her mindset. It helped her process grief and forge a new path with greater optimism and happiness. Realizing the benefit of deliberate change, she now leads a more balanced and mindful life inspired by simple changes.
She blogs regularly at malindainthesnow.com to help others find change, however small, outside their box in order to live a happier, healthier life.