I have been very aware that the Danish concept of hygge is reaching wider than our shores and I do have a fear that the media will over sell it and make it into this year’s mindfulness. However hygge is certainly something I value and allows me to slow down and enjoy life. Hygge has a real place in life in Denmark and you can’t really interact with Danes without hearing about it on a daily basis. Even at the swimming pool last week I heard three twenty something women agreeing how hyggeligt their swim and sauna session had been.
I was asked by my Australian friend about which of the many books about hygge out this autumn she should read and after a quick perusal of the titles and contents I recommended The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute (yes that really is a place and one I’d love to work at). It seemed to be the one that, to me, really summed up hygge.
Last week a reader here also recommended the book to me as it was written by a friend of his (by the way I love hearing from readers especially actual Danes and men!). I downloaded the book onto my Kindle app and got reading. I have to say I love it. It really sums up what I understand to be real hygge and it is funny and not a sugar-coated read at all. As something of an introvert at heart, I loved the connection Meik made between hygge and how introverts like to socialise. Being hygge is not about large busy crowds but small intimate groups. There are so many lovely messages in this book and even if you embrace a handful of them you will go someway towards a more relaxed life.
It made me feel warm and dare I say it, hyggelige, whilst reading it. So if you are curious about what hygge is all about and you only want to read about it in one book, make this one the one you read! Don’t forget to get your warm blanket and hot drink ready!
If you fancy really indulging in hygge there other books out now (search on Amazon for hygge and you will find them) or you can read what I said about it on the Huffington Post here.*
* This post contains affiliate links.
thanks for this Melanie, it seems that this issue is well alive ! Here is another article that also addresses this with an interesting point about avoiding conflicting discussions http://www.yourdanishlife.dk/the-things-you-need-to-know-about-hygge/
For me, for lack of better words, I refer to ‘turning by brain off’ : this is when I just appreciate the moment, that is Hygge I guess for me 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out.
Mmm. Hygge is in danger of becoming just another label for mindfulness. Or another excuse to buy stuff. I think it’s easy to miss the point of it, with community and family and friends at the forefront in a society like the UK that is so unbalanced between work and home. I’m trying to recognise the hyggelig moments in my life but it’s still my life, not me playing a character.
Hygge is being sold by advertisers as the middle-class utopia which can only be achieved by buying x,y and z. It’s actually just a word or stuff that we have/experience already, the Danes simply see the value in certain experiences, cultivate it and have given it a name. Mindfulness is a bit different as it is an absence of intrusive thoughts and an awareness of the body in whatever situation you are in. This is a good book but if you go on Wiking’s Happiness Institute website, there are reports on why the Danes are so happy and they make much more interesting reading. Much of this happiness comes from a strong, supportive social structure where heavy tax is used to provide guaranteed healthcare and income. It suggests if the rest of the world wants to really get happy they have to move away from this wave of extreme conservative/right-wing/republican politics and find something a bit kinder, somewhere in the middle.
I couldn’t agree more!