Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, wrote a book that recently landed in my lap and on my Best of 2017 list. In The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, Meik describes hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), a multidimensional Danish word without an exact English counterpart and the reason Meik believes Danish people are consistently ranked as the happiest in the world. A close synonym is "coziness" but that’s only the tip of the Flødeboller (iceberg-shaped Danish dessert).
Hygge is a way of living, an alternative, a refuge from everything that isn't hyggelit (the adjective form of hygge). It isn't sticking your head in the sand and blocking out the world. Without anti-hygge things there would be no contrast to recognize, let alone appreciate, that hygge actually is all around.
The book is filled with easy ways to bring hygge home. I’ve repackaged a few of them here for you into the 5 C’s of Coziness (with links to my current favorites):
- Candles: Use lots of them to create small huddles of soft light around the room. Danes prefer the unscented variety, but if a particular scent evokes coziness to you, by all means, light it up!
Green Moss candle
- Cake: Let yourself eat cake. Everything in moderation is OK, even pleasure.
Birthday Blast ice cream
- Casualness: Keep it comfy, clothes, furniture, conversations, etc.
- Connection: Happiness relies on meaningful and positive social relationships. Surround yourself with the people you love and make new memories together.
Phase 10 card game
- Consciousness: Be present. As Meik says, “Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday.”
Headspace guided meditation app