What I Learned from “The Happiest Country in the World” in “The Little Book of Hygge”

Want to know the secret to happy living? In Denmark, they attribute much of their happiness to a concept called “hygge”. Learn about it in these notes on “The Little Book of Hygge”.

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THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE

Have you ever looked forward to the first day of a cold front and enjoyed it by cuddling in blankets by the fire or reading a book with a hot cup of tea?

Or have you enjoyed that feeling of lighting a candle in a room and watching the warm glow and slowly noticing its scent linger throughout the room?

This concept of coziness is universal and we each have our own way of experiencing it. I discovered that the people of Denmark have a word for it: Hygge.

In short, hygge is a form of self-care. A practice of slowing down, noticing the little things and being present by creating an atmosphere of joy.

Meik Wiking dissects this concept in his book called, “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living“. Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark and studies Danish life and what makes this country rank high in happiness year after year.

"Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down."

-The Little Book of Hygge

CANDLES = INSTANT HYGGE

The word hygge literally means “well-being”. According to Danes asked in a study about what they most associate with hygge, 85% of them said candles.

How simple is that?

I mean think about how you feel when you walk into a room where a candle is lit. If it’s been going awhile, the room will smell wonderful and can directly impact your mood. To me, cinnamon means Christmas, and pumpkin spice means fall. During the rest of the year, I like to pick warm vanilla scents for a cozy effect or even a scent like fresh linen to create a sense of cleanliness in the house.

Aside from smells, candles provide a unique lighting experience.

Want to feel fancy? Candles.

Romantic? Candles.

Cozy? Candles.

Spooky? Candles.

Depending on where the candles are and what the room looks like, candles can completely change the mood of everyone in the room when they walk in–scented or unscented.

Next time you feel overwhelmed, light a candle. Use the sights and smells to allow yourself to settle your mind for a minute and be present.

CREATE A HYGGE ATMOSPHERE

But aside from candles, there are many other ways to create moments of hygge in your day. “The Little Book of Hygge” is filled with things that help set the stage for creating a hygge atmosphere. Here are a few listed in the book:

  • A comfy chair
  • A fireplace
  • Things made out of wood
  • Nature
  • Books
  • Ceramics for tea and coffee
  • Variety of textures
  • Vintage items
  • Blankets and cushions
  • Chocolate
  • Your favorite tea
  • Your favorite book
  • Bread and Jam
  • A good pair of socks
  • Old letters
  • Your favorite show
  • A warm sweater
  • A nice blanket
  • Paper and pen
  • A notebook
  • Music
  • A physical photo album

…I’m feeling cozy already just thinking about it!

CREATE A HYGGE EXPERIENCE WITH OTHERS

Simply having these things set out is a good starting point, but take them to the next level by turning your atmosphere into an experience. Here are a few guidelines from the book on including others in your hygge experience:

  1. Be present in the moment. Put away phones.
  2. Avoid conflicting topics with others. Take a timeout from drama.
  3. Practice gratitude for the moment, the people, the atmosphere.
  4. Sit in harmony with each other, no bragging, because we already like you!
  5. Get comfortable. Relax!
  6. Treat one another as equals. Share tasks and talk time.
  7. This is a time of togetherness, building relationships and being nostalgic.
  8. Treat this atmosphere as a place of shelter, peace and security.

PRINT THIS FREE HYGGE COLORING PAGE

One of my favorite things about reading “The Little Book of Hygge” was that the artwork and colors just exuded happiness. I was inspired to make this little coloring page for you to print to discover what you want to incorporate in your hygge experience today.

Love to read? Order a copy of “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” and snuggle under a blanket with a hot drink while you read!

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