I discovered the “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) phenomenon months ago when I stumbled on an article about a cozy Danish trend that is sweeping the nation. The popular HBO series “Vice” even did a segment on it that explained what hygge really is – and the center of the linked segment was none other but the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking. Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen that wrote this perfect guide to achieving hygge, which will be the center of my post today.
I ordered this book on Amazon and dove right in as soon as it got delivered. This book is a guide of how to achieve hygge in your own life and I would highly recommend picking it up.. I personally do not read a lot of non-fiction so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. So I will try to talk about this book while keeping you just intrigued enough to read it yourself.
What is hygge?
There are certain words on each language that are completely untranslatable into English for example the Japanese word Tsundoku which means the act of leaving books that your bought unread, the Norwgian word Utepils which mean to sit outside on a sunny day and enjoy a beer, or my personal favorite, the Russian word Naglost’ (which I will let you look up on your own). Hygge is one such word which is hard to explain. You can say that hygge is about appreciating the little things in life or perhaps it’s about being cozy but in reality, there are a lot of factors that go into hygge. What the author made me realize is that my own personal hygge (which is very similar to many people) is sitting with a blanket wrapped around me, a cup of tea or coffee with a good book during a storm and having no other worries or thoughts going through my head. That is not my only form of hygge though. Another form of hygge for me is sitting somewhere with my fiancé, whether it’s at home, in a café, at a park, and planning our future travels together. That should show you that hygge can be very different for many people and can take many forms.
Why should hygge be part of your life?
Since hygge has a direct link to happiness, and that is what we all want, why not give hygge a shot? Although happiness is very hard to measure, since it is subjective, many studies have gone into quantifying what it truly means for a population to be happy. From that research, Denmark was ranked the happiest country on Earth, and according to Wiking, hygge has a lot to do with that. What resonated with me is how a lot of our happiness is linked to social interaction. For me, it really shed a light on how most (if not all) of my happiest moments have been shared with others. It got the wheels turning: how I can get all my favorite people in one place at least once a year and spend quality time with them (perhaps over some great food and great drinks). Just imagining the conversation taking place and all the activities made me happy. And this hasn’t even happened yet!
Why should you read this book?
Did this book change my life? No, but it did enlighten me to spend more time finding my hygge and spend more time doing things I love to do and most importantly to be happy with what I have. This book talked a lot about the concept of hygge during the holidays, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it made me want December to get here faster so I can get all the candles out and lit around the house, spend time cooking and baking and spend time with my loved ones. However, this book also made me realize that it doesn’t have to be the holiday season for me to enjoy those types of moments. This book makes you self-reflect about your own happiness and I think that it’s very important for personal growth.
Job well done, Meik Wiking. Hygge achieved.
So tell me, how do you find you hygge? Is it similar to me or perhaps it’s in the wilderness surrounded by trees or sitting on a beach basking in the sun?