Do you know that Denmark was ranked as the happiest country in the world 6 times in the last 10 years? Last time I checked from the 2018 World Happiness Report it is still in the top 3 together with Finland and Norway. Since I am from the country that is not even ranked in the top 156 countries, I’m keen to know what factors that make them so happy and that is why I pick up ‘The Little Book of Hygge The Danish Way to Live Well’ the New York Times bestseller written by Meik Wiking. Meik is CEO of Happiness Research Institute and he is very nice to share the Dane’s secret weapon of how to live their calm and peaceful life. It is the way of living that is called ‘Hygge’ (pronounced Hoo-gah). According to the book “The word hygge originates from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being”.” And noticeably, the words that frequently come up to explain hygge are ‘slow’, ‘calm’, ‘comfort’, ‘safe’ and ‘simple living’. While I’m still not sure how to put the word ‘Hygge’ into the sentence correctly (pardon me if I have done it wrong here), I will try to explain the definition of hygge from my understanding like this.
- Christian Grey’s Apartment in Fifty Shade of Gray=> not hygge
- Home of Kate Winslet in The Holidays => very hygge
- Rolex watch => nice to have but so not hygge
- Anything Handcrafted => kind of hygge
- Boasting about your successful work => not hygge
- Chatting about non-sensitive topic => hygge
- Obsessed looking at your cellphones => not hygge
- Reading a book by the fireplace with warm blanket => very hygge
- Having foie gras => expensive food is not hygge
- Having cake with your close friend => super hygge
I hope now you might get the picture more or less so let’s get into its element. Here are my four favorite ways to be Hyggeligt (adj. of it) that I learned from the book to apply to my life. Well, since I am living in a year-round hot and humid weather, I have to be creative and pick only what can be done here. As a result, they are 4 simple ways to do wherever you are and regardless of the season of the year.
1. Having hot drinks. Hold it in your hand, feel the warmth, close your eye umm….that’s the immediate hygge you can do. Yes, I know I just mentioned it’s hot and humid here but sometimes the air condition (especially at my workplace) can be freezing. Having a hot drink in cold place can bring a relief and a sense of survival into our feeling. Did you just feel that every time you have your first sip of hot coffee in the morning? According to the book “Hot drinks are what 86% of Danes associate with hygge. It might be tea, hot chocolate or mulled wine but the Dane’s favorite hot drink is coffee”. I am a hot cocoa lover so I will add that to my list.
2. No Competition, please. I love this sentence from the book “It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievement”. How peaceful the world would be if everyone around us thinks like that? It feels like the world (or our own world) is slowing down when we do not need to keep up with anyone or anything. Do not get me wrong, I still believe in growth mindset but I also believe that we can grow without the sense of competing or hurrying. Can we have that
once in a while every day?
3. Cultivate your cozy corner. Have you already had one at your home? It is somewhere you can sit peacefully, quietly, alone or maybe with your close ones. To be perfectly hyggeligt (adjective of hygge), it should compose of soft cushion, soft rug, windows looking out for nature or street, soft blanket, a few books lying around, a cup of coffee or a mug to be held in your hand and snow storm outside which will be rainstorm in my case. This is supposed to be your zen zone. you can even use this corner to write your blog. If you get it right, you will be wearing a good pair of woolen sock (hygge socks) while sitting in this spot. I am really into this idea and seriously will create one for myself. The ultimate goal is to have somewhere I can rest my brain after a long day, a spot I’m looking forward as soon as I’m home. The Danes are right, this is a simple pleasure yet highly elevate our mood and mind.
4. Cheaper is happier. As the author states “The more money and prestige is associated with something, the less hyggeligt it becomes. The simpler and more primitive an activity is, the more hyggeligt it is”. Being happy without spending money definitely sounds nice. The mindset is you can achieve the same level of happiness while doing inexpensive activities. You can use your creativity to think of one and being hyggeligt doing it tonight. For me, I can take out my cross stitch and make a progress with them at my hygge spot.
In the end, the book summarizes that “HYGGE AS EVERYDAY HAPPINESS”, I couldn’t agree more. Will you live your life and waiting for happiness after your achievement? How frequent would we be happy if that is an equation? Let’s find simple happiness to add to your day. Investigate yourself what is your vibe and I wish you a good day along the way.