As a country consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world, Meik Wiking, a researcher at the Happiness Institute in, where else but Denmark, decided to put together a book on that important concept he believes the Danish owe much of their happiness to – hygge – in The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live Well.
Note: to make life easier, let’s assume everything in this book is accurate. I’ve never been to Denmark and don’t really know any Danish people, so I can’t say for sure that hygge is a thing. Let’s just assume it is for the purposes of this post. I myself am inclined to believe it is, if you’re wondering.
From what I can gather, hygge is coziness – doing things, surrounding yourself with, striving towards hygge in every aspect of life, be it at home, what you eat, wear, how you work, socialize, feel, and so on. It’s about feeling cozy: safe, secure, happy, content, sentimental, and all the things that give you the warm and fuzzy feels, boiled down into a single Danish word that apparently sounds like hoog-ah.
Despite being a researcher, Wiking doesn’t delve too deeply into the science of hygge. Instead, he shares with us a how-to-hygge of sorts. It all sounds so easy to be honest, and perhaps applying some of these hygge tips may well make you happier in some senses. But I can’t help but feel like it’s all very surface level hygge. Surely it has more to do than with a pair of mismatched woolen socks and a fireplace? I personally think hygge is much deeper than that – a culture, a sense of being, a mindset that one is perhaps ingrained with since young, and something that is continuously reinforced in positive ways throughout one’s life. And all that other stuff, really, is something to give you the hygge-feels.
Don’t get me wrong. Wiking doesn’t just share with us how-to-hygge. He eventually does get into the science of things much later on in the book, although the single chapter that does this I am sure barely scratches the surface of his research. I admit, his research is probably not what readers want to read about though – just those the likes of me. And even I think it could get too dry if it’s all facts and figures and graphs. But I think it would be more interesting if he interspersed bits of his research with the other fluffier chapters, kind of like proper scientific reinforcement as to why light at a specific K elevates one’s mood and so on.
This book is still worth a read though, especially if you’re curious as to what hygge is all about. Plus, as Shelby says, it’ll look real pretty in flatlays, hehe.