Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

It's a well-known fact that the Danes are some of the happiest people on the planet. No, really. It's been tested and proved time and again. One of the reasons can be attributed to hygge - pronounced hoo-ga.

But what is hygge? It's a noun, verb, and adjective that basically boils down to "...a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being."

In The Little Book of Hygge Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, has set out to share the idea of hygge with the world and spread the happiness that is so prevalent in Denmark. And while the idea is hard to translate 100%, my own take on it is basic coziness.

The idea is to create spaces and situations that exude comfort. Whether that's curling up with your favorite book and a warm blanket or inviting a few friends over to share a meal by the fire is up to you and your needs at the time.

Hygge isn't an idea that's new to me. I'd first come across the concept in an article about how Danes get through long, dark winters. As someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I can't even imagine living in a place where winters are more miserable than Colorado. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people who enjoy winter - and Colorado is by no means the worst place to experience it. Personally, though, I'd be happiest if I could spend all of my time on a tropical, sunny island with frequent rain storms!

You can imagine, then, that the idea of incorporating elements of hygge into my own life are appealing, to say the least.

I do wish that I could go out and buy an entire house worth of Danish furniture to really max out the hygge feeling in my abode. Fortunately, while that's not an option for me, it's also not necessary. While Wiking does advocate for comfy chairs and various design elements, he also explains that hygge can be as simple as lighting candles at the end of your work day and treating yourself to a nice piece of chocolate. Game nights, movie nights, and potlucks with friends or coworkers (hygge in the office!) are all other suggestions as are outdoor activities. In other words, attainable things for all of us.

The Little Book of Hygge is a fun and inspirational. Less a book to sit down and read and more a simple collection of suggestions for personal comfort and well-being - something I have no doubt many people can benefit from right about now. It's certainly got me thinking about things I can do here to make the cold months and short days a bit less daunting! And of course, as a total book junkie, I can definitely get behind anything that advocates for books as comfort :)

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