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  • Kate Berry

Hygge-fy Your Relationship: Invite the Danish "art of intimacy" into your love life

“We are social creatures, and the importance of this is clearly seen when one compares the satisfaction people feel in relationships with their overall satisfaction with life. The most important social relationships are close relationships in which you experience things together with others, and experience being understood; where you share thoughts and feelings, and both give and receive support. In one word: hygge.”

― Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well

Ah, hygge.

Have you heard of it?

It's been described as the Danish "art of intimacy" and the "absence of annoyance" - and we all need more of it in our life.

Pronounced HOO-ga (for all of us who don't speak Danish), it's an idea that's been studied extensively at places like the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark and it just might be the secret to living the kind of life you dream of.

Here's what you need to know: hygge is all about creating a cozy atmosphere that lends itself to people being able to relax and connect with themselves and others.

Because our ability to relax and connect with others are both directly related to our overall levels of happiness, creating hyggeligt (hygge-like) moments in your life has been shown to contribute to people's overall well-being. So what are some of the benefits of infusing our romantic relationships with hygge?

  • We feel closer and more connected to the people who matter most

  • Create a series of moments that we can look back on and smile

  • Increase satisfaction with life in general

The Happiness Research Institute has done a ton of research on hyggeligt activties, and found that all of them caused the brain to release oxytocin, or "the love hormone." Oxytocin is associated with with building "empathy, trust, sexual-activity, and relationship building."

Do you want more of that in your relationship? I know I do.

Read on to discover 10 ways to hygge-fy your relationship, build connection, and boost happiness in your relationship!

1. Cuddle in bed.

Aside from when you're sick, when do you get told to stay in bed?!

I'm telling you now: hanging out and snuggling with your partner in bed is ground zero for building connection. Whether you're spooning, reading, or drinking coffee and playing footsie, cuddling is where it's at! Plus, you never know...it just might escalate to something a little more...*ahem*...intimate.

Just promise me one thing: NO SCREENS! Okay?

2. Prepare a meal together.

It doesn't matter if it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Put on some soulful tunes (Marvin Gaye, anyone?), dance in the kitchen, feed your partner a taste-test off the spoon, and have a great time preparing a tasty meal. You'll have more fun eating something you both put your love and energy into!

3. Dim the lights.

Lighting is a key component of hygge. Low lighting, candles, sunrises, sunsets - it doesn't matter, just make sure it's not too bright and that it feels cozy!

Brownie points: Share that meal you just made by candlelight!

4. Go on a walk.

Whether it's around the block, in the woods, or through a park, all that matters is that you get outside and appreciate the world around you. You can walk in silence, or take the opportunity to talk with each other. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to connect while walking.

Brownie points: Hold hands or walk arm in arm.

5. Cozy up next to a fire.

It's June in Montana, which means that it's campfire season...a perfect time to sit with your sweetie in the warm glow of the fire. Winter is also a great time to sit by the fireplace and snuggle. Between the heat of the fire and the light it puts off, you're sure to feel closer to your partner when you sit fireside.

Brownie points: Make s'mores! Sweets are another integral part of hygge living!

6. Have a game night.

Bust out that Scrabble board or a deck of cards and prepare to have some fun with your honey! Playing games is an awesome way to

share some laughs, get a little competitive, and connect with your partner.

7. Take a road trip.

Take a day and drive somewhere new. Make a special playlist and get your favorite snacks and explore the world together. Get to know your partner in a new way by asking them fun "get-to-know-you" type questions and fall in love with them all over again.

8. Start a gratitude journal.

Yeah, I know it's cheesy. But cheese can be the secret ingredient that takes relationship to the next level (I mean that figuratively, of course. But if you're really into cheese, then I can dig it literally as well). Think: love notes, gratitude lists, appreciations, whatever. Who doesn't love it when their partner makes them feel special by putting their love down on paper. It's a bit of a challenge, but give it a try and I'm sure that it will spice up your relationship.

9. Invent a new tradition.

Create a holiday. Eat tacos instead of turkey on Thanksgiving. Volunteer on Valentine's Day. Celebrate the birthday of a historical figure you both admire. Create a "coming home" ritual where you both do certain things for each other when you get home from work. Whatever it is, make it fun and make it yours. Creating traditions and rituals is an awesome way to create meaning and connection in your relationship.

10. Turn off the screens.

Do I really need to say anything more? Put the phones down. Shut down the laptop or tablet. Turn off the tv. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to focus on your partner and how infinitely amazing it is to gaze into their eyes.

This is my challenge to you: In the next 2 weeks, give at least 5 of these a try and see how it can transform your relationship.

Drop me a note and let me know how it goes...or, if you have any more hyggeligt suggestions, I'm all ears.

Get cozy and get happy, my friends!