Cozy State of Mind
By Dr. Glenn Fox, C4 Foundation Chief Science Officer
Sidle up by the fire, put on your robe and slippers, open a book featuring far away lands, and settle in: it’s cozy time. Coziness is something we yearn for this time of year, in the short dark days of winter, where shelter is enjoyed, holiday cheer brings people together, and we grant ourselves the chance to imbibe delight.
It turns out, that there is an entire philosophy around coziness, brought to us from the Danish people. They have a unique term just to describe this warm feeling of abundant snuggles — it’s called “Hygge” (pronounced something like, ‘hoo-guh’). Interestingly, the word comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, and joy.” The term hygge is having a bit of a moment: in recent years books, videos, and lifestyle advice has raised cultural awareness of hygge as a vehicle for happiness and mental respite.
Hygge is about giving ourselves permission to enjoy life’s small splendors. What is beautiful about hygge is that it is devoid of scrolling on our phones mindlessly, or comparing our lives to what we can imagine they’d be like if only this or that were fixed. Hygge is about noticing what is around us, and deeply and intentionally savoring a momentary delight. Hygge reminds us to keep life simple, find the smallest, most pleasant thing and hold it close in our minds for however long we can. There’s no pressure in hygge, only taking what is good and focusing on making small delightful decisions to enjoy life.
Our C4 F.R.O.G. program, and the C4 Ranch itself is built on something like hygge, which we refer to as “gratitude.” Hygge and gratitude are close cousins. As the research on gratitude has shown, it is less about waiting for external events to dictate our happiness, and more about shifting our frame of reference to what we have in abundance, however modest. Hygge is the action of creating tiny acts of self-gratitude, it’s about setting aside good food, a warm pair of socks, a long shower, a nice book, or even a moment to ponder the stars above. Hygge keeps us close to self-compassion, and reminds us it’s okay to treat ourselves to the things that help us feel relaxed, safe, and in the right place at the right time — just as it should be. Make this the season of hygge; embrace the art of the cozy mind.
Thank you all for a great year at the C4 Foundation. We have made progress on every front, and have only been able to do so with friends, family, and everyone that has supported us. We look forward to an amazing 2022. In the meantime, get cozy everyone.
Written by Glenn R. Fox, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, The C4 Foundation