Do you have Hygge in your life?

* Book Recommendation*

‘The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well’ by Meik Wiking

(From the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen)

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I’ve dipped in and out of this book for the best part of six months and found it fascinating. I’d seen it in many book stores and was intrigued about what Hygge was (pronounced Hooga). I had previously read how the Danes are ranked as being one of the happiest nations of the world.  This may be a mystery to many of us as Denmark is not blessed with great weather and the Danes pay some of the highest tax rates in the world. However, on the whole, they do not see this as a bad thing.  Their outlook is one of investing in the wellbeing of their collective society.

There is a very important ingredient in the Danish recipe for happiness – Hygge 

What is it? It originates from the Norwegian word meaning ‘wellbeing’

‘Cosiness of the soul’ ‘The absence of annoyance’ “Like a hug without touching’

It’s about an atmosphere and an experience rather than material things. About being with people we love, feeling safe and relaxed. On reading this book I’ve realised that I already create a hyggelig atmosphere at home and I love spending time there. I even incorporate some of the facits of hygge in my treatments.  According to author Meik Wiking (who studies what makes people happy at the Happiness Research Institute based in Denmark) there are specific things we can do to create Hygge in our lives.

Creating instant Hygge – More than half of Danes light candles almost every day during the autumn and winter. Those that know me well and have visited my house know that I am obsessed with candles! This is an easy way to create Hygge.  Several small lamps around a room create a more hyggeligt light too (as opposed to one big ceiling light).  You want to create ‘small caves of light’ around the room.

Ten things that will make your home more hygellig:

1.Hyggekrog – Find a ‘nook’ in your home. A place to snuggle up in a blanket with a book, blanket and cup of tea.

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2.A fireplace – To experience ultimate feelings of cosiness and warmth. Three in ten homes in Denmark have an open fire compared to one in twenty eight in the U.K.

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3.Candles – No candles, no hygge!

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4.Things made out of wood – firewood, floors, furniture, toys. They makes us feel closer to nature.

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5.Nature – Bringing the outside in – leaves, nuts, twigs.

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6.Books – Taking a break with a good book is very beneficial for your wellbeing and if you have young children you could snuggle up in your hyggekrog together with a book.

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7.Ceramics – A favourite mug, tea pot or vase that you like to use – are all hyggelige.

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8.Tactile – It’s not just about how things look but also about how they feel. Tactile materials are favoured over things like plastic and glass.

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9.Vintage – An old chair or lamp is considered very hyggeligt. It’s all about the history and nostalgia surrounding the items.

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10.Blankets and cushions – Cosiness must haves for any household.

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Another suggestion I really liked in the book was the idea of having a Hygge Emergency Kit available for those times when you don’t have any plans, don’t feel like going out and just want some quality time alone. It’s a fast track to Hygge:

Candles, good quality chocolate, your favourite tea, your favourite book, your favourite film or boxset of your favourite series, jam (or other family treats), a good pair of woollen socks,  a selection of your favourite letters, a warm jumper, a notebook, a nice blanket, paper and a pen, music and a photo album.

Hygge is about giving your responsible, stressed-out achiever adult a break. Relax, just for a little while.  It is about experiencing happiness in simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be OK” 

As we move more into the Autumn and Winter months it seems like the perfect time to inject more Hygge into our lives.

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