Books We Love: The Little Book of Hygge

Reviewed by Emily D. Tisdale

Everyone wants to achieve happiness, but let’s be honest. How many of us are truly happy? Often, as entrepreneurs, we are so busy that we never stop to take a breath and actually consider this question.

However, even when we’re kicking butt and taking names in our professional and personal lives, it’s not uncommon to notice a quiet discontent creeping in. Taking time out for self-care can help, but if you still feel like something is missing, then it may be time to dig a little deeper.

According to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, the secret to happiness might just lie with the Danes. In his New York Times bestseller, The Little Book of Hygge, Wiking explores a uniquely Danish philosophy. Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is less about collecting tangible objects and more about creating your own happiness through atmosphere and experience. Since Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world, practicing hygge is definitely worth a shot.

Things We Learned

Atmosphere is Everything

When it comes to creating your own hygge, your surroundings are of the utmost importance. Start with your lighting — forget about those harsh overhead bulbs or cold fluorescents. They’re just not hygge. Instead, Wiking suggests burning candles and using carefully arranged lamps to achieve the effect of the golden hour (the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour before sunset).

And while lighting is key to hygge, Wiking also lays out a plan of ten things that can make your home more hyggelig (hygge-like). From a hyggekrog (a snuggly nook in a room) to cozy blankets and cushions, hygge should provide comfort and appeal to all your senses.

After a long day, unwinding in your very own hyggekrog is the perfect way to de-stress and help your inspiration soar!


Hygge is Better Together

Entrepreneurship can sometimes be a lonely road. While we all aim to expand our professional network, much of our time is often spent solo. Here is where hygge can be an entrepreneur’s best friend.

Wiking suggests socializing with friends, family, or colleagues as often as possible. No need to splurge on lavish vacations or group spa days. Instead, enjoying hygge with others can be as simple as a quiet dinner party at home. Hygge is all about creating a warm atmosphere where everyone is equal, relaxed, and welcoming.

Even after a hard week, a little hygge with friends can banish stress better than a night alone. In fact, Wiking has found that enjoying close social relationships is a strong predictor of happiness.


Hygge Can Happen Every Day

While much of the hygge concept revolves around being warm and cozy in spite of freezing temperatures (Denmark’s weather is notoriously cold), Wiking provides plenty of examples of how to hygge no matter the season.

With a list of ideas for each month, you can just as easily get your hygge on even when the temperatures soar. From sprawling out on a blanket for a night under the stars to packing a picnic basket, hygge can be yours every single day.

At its core, hygge is a chance to slow down and savor the moment, and Wiking provides plenty of low-cost ideas. One of our favorites is a swap party – each guest brings something they no longer want that could benefit someone else.


Favorite Quote

We often remind each other not to take things for granted. Gratitude is more than just a simple “thank you” when you receive a gift. It is about keeping in mind that you live right now, allowing yourself to focus on the moment and appreciate the life you lead, to focus on all that you do have, not what you don’t. Clichés? Totally.

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