Saturday, 6 March 2021

Book Review - The Little Book of Hygge - Finding Happiness


The little book of happiness.....Denmark, often known as the happiest place on earth is down to 'Hygge' pronounced as 'Hooga' . Hygge cannot be described as a single emotion but about an atmosphere and experience. Hygge has been called everything from 'the art of creating intimacy' to 'taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things' . It is about the feeling of home, a feeling of being safe and shielded from the world. This beautiful little book was written by Meik Wiking and who better to guide us through all things 'Higge'. Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the 'magic' of Danish life. 

I cherish this little book and never tire of looking through it. It's captivating and a truly positive read. There is nothing more homely than snuggling down on the sofa, with a glass of wine and indulging through these delightful pages. The Little Book of Hygge

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A colleague and good friend of mine, loves all things mindful and positive. He would often bring to work his books and ideas on how to live a stress free life. I am sure this is why we became friends. I am a book reader myself, in preference to trawling my way through the internet or listening to audio books. There is nothing I like more than an afternoon browsing through old book stores. This little book really drew my attention just by looking at it. The artwork and design of the cover looks happy in itself and conjures up a sense of calm and tranquillity. The transfusion of colours, shapes and simple text was enough to make me pick up the book and skim through the pages. The shapes and pictures on the cover are actually symbols of the Hygge manifesto:

From the first few pages I was hooked and tried to limit my time reading through this little guide. It is the type of book that warrants good lighting, a relaxing atmosphere and time on your hands to enjoy.

This little book tries to examine the lives of the Danes and why they are the happiest nation in Europe. They live their life in the present moment with a commitment to experiencing and savouring every given period of time. When relaxing with family at mealtimes or out socialising with friends, they are offline, no phone, no emails, no distractions. They drink coffee or hot chocolate and indulge in deep conversation and meaningful chat. Danes are fanatical about their hot drinks and cakes and a majority of people associate this with Hygge. Cakes and pastries, both the eating and baking (we're all familiar with Danish pastries and cinnamon buns) make everything 'hyggeligt'. Danes love the old ideals of warm coffee houses with beautiful rooms and interior, soft, cosy lighting, indulging in sweet pastry masterpieces with friends.....this all screams 'Hygge'.

Whilst all of this sounds delightful and quite tasty, there is a downside to 'Hygge'. The Danes are very sociable but prefer smaller groups of friends for 'hyggeligt' time. Almost 60% of Danes say the best number of people for 'Hygge' is three to four. Danes are not good at inviting new people to their friendship circles. It would be considered less 'hyggeligt' if there were too many new people at an event. Getting into a social circle requires a lot of effort and loneliness along the way. It can be close to impossible to penetrate the social circles, maybe years of hard work and persistence.  But 'Once you are in - you are in' and will form a lifelong circle of 'hyggeligt' friends.

More About the Book

The book itself is beautifully illustrated throughout. Practically every page has photos, symbols, graphs or drawings. This adds to the content making it colourful and pleasurable to read. The quality of the book is sumptuous, making it an experience to just browse through the pages. There is so much information and guidelines to help you achieve 'Hygge' in your own home as well as with your family and friends. There is a feeling of happiness and gratitude in this way of life, perhaps helping the reader to understand that the simpler things in life mean more than the materialistic possessions we seem to crave. 

I often sit of a nighttime with this little book, a glass of wine and wrapped in a fleece blanket. Getting cosy and feeling relaxed adds a little genuineness and appreciation to this read. You can buy the Little Book of Hygge here

Does Hygge sound like a perfect lifestyle to you? Let me know in the comments below your thoughts?


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