If you’ve been reading up on minimalism chances are that you’ve come across the word Hygae. So what exactly is Hygge and why is everyone talking about it, is it even English? Well, no actually, it’s a Danish word. It’s pronounced “hue-guy” or “hoo-gah” and focuses on detaching from wealth and gathering feelings of happiness, contentment and comfort.
Hygge means to take a slow down, breathe, and take a step back to internalise life as it is and to find happiness in the simplicity of things and just to enjoy life overall. Imported from Britain to America in 2016, Hygge quickly became a popular trend in decorations and lifestyle.
Minimalism and Hygge may have many similarities, but they differ in their end goals and heres how.
Since Denmark, Hygge’s country of origin has one of the highest tax rates in history at around 60% they’ve learnt to focus on things in life that are detached from wealth. Instead of finding joy in money, they derive pleasure from the simpler things such as activities with friends, like hiking.
Try breaking down everything into their building blocks. Why do people earn money? So that they feel happiness, right? Well, through Hygge, we achieve happiness through other means. The end goal is the same, is it not? Simple as that!
Minimalism however, is focused on choosing to rid yourself of unnecessary belongings and only holding on to what’s important. It’s a countercultural response to society’s emphasis on consumption. Minimalism can be expensive even though it is less. Hygge however, specifically focuses on detaching from expensive things.
Both run to counter a culture of consumption
According to Hygge, absolute contentment is is a cozy blanket, a pair of fuzzy socks and a movie that sparks joy. These things do not require Gucci bracelets and branded handbags. Hygge is to halt, step back from modern chaos and just relax and reflect.
Conversely, minimalism also aims to counter a culture of consumption, it is often touted as a way to become more productive and spend less time on needless things rather than enjoying the simpler things. Of course they can go hand in hand, but the end goal is inherently different.
Both aim to change your lifestyle
Hygge has taken social media by storm lately, particularly in winter. Fuzzy blankets, cozy hoodies, hot coco, a crackling fireplace and a room of close friends are often tagged with #hygge. That sounds pretty darn good to me. However cozy and comfy the hygge image in your mind is, chances are that it can still be considered cluttered. Hell, the cluttered-ness might even add to the hygge-ness.
However, minimalism strips everything down to its elements and has as little as possible. Whether its the cleanliness and simplicity of a capsule wardrobe, or the clear glass coffee table decorated only by some flowers, the aesthetic is drastically different from Hygge.
While Hygge and Minimalism both stress spending less and investing more time into a higher quality of life rather than unnecessary consumptions just for the sake of consuming, ultimately their end goals differ. Hygge focuses on removing one’s self from fast paced modern chaos, whilst minimalism helps to embrace the modern but taking out the chaos.
Regardless which path you set on, taking on either of these lifestyles will be an improvement.