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[Book Review] Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life

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In a world where everything seems to be confusing and fast paced, how often do we really get the time to reflect on the state of our mind and ask ourselves: Are we really happy?

I took some time off from my hectic life to ponder over this existential question, and thanks to Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life, I kind of have my answer now.

About the book

Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life is a book by Alexander Parker.

While there are many popular books written on Hygge, Parker approaches the subject with much simplicity and an in-depth research. His book provides a guide to help people understand the true essence of hygge without getting caught up in the esoteric philosophical gobbledygook that most of the self-improvement books are filled with. The book carefully compiles the ideas from various studies, discussions, books, and articles about hygge offering an effective solution to relieve yourself from the various stressors in your life. 

Note – Some links in this post may be affiliate links from Amazon. If you click on them and make a purchase, I will earn a small monetary reward. As per the Amazon affiliate policy, it is important for a blogger to disclose this to the readers.

Understanding Hygge

One of the key takeaways from this book is to learn to enjoy the simple pleasures found in day-to-day activities. Be it at home, work, or while spending time with our loved ones, hygge can teach us to live in the present and appreciate the experiences around us.

But what exactly is hygge?

It’s difficult to define the term precisely in English. But loosely speaking, Hygge is about improving one’s quality of life. The practitioners of Hygge do that by establishing and maintaining a good relationship with the self, with other people, and with the environment. 

Hygge has been in existence since the early 1800’s, but it was only in mid-2010’s that it became popular with the rest of the world. In 2017, Pinterest recognized hygge as one of the hottest trends among its users and up to this day, Twitter and Instagram continue to trend with hygge-related posts. 

Those who have already been practicing hygge do not find this surprising. Afterall, the pursuit of comfort and happiness is a global phenomenon. In the age of globalization, the dissemination of information is quick, and cultural exchange is swift. While some of us might find hygge as a completely alien concept, others find it resonate with their own personal idea of wellbeing.  

The book by Parker describes many cultural terms that are similar to hygge. Some of these are Friluftsliv, Gemiitlichkeit, Gezelligheid and Koselig. They all are different European concepts, however, the core ideas shared by them can be summarised as follows

  • They seek to establish a connection with nature
  • A focus on living an active lifestyle
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Attaining higher level of consciousness
  • Spending time with your family, friends, and loved ones.

The Danish Way of Living

Danes are regarded as one of the happiest people in the world. Hygge is a very important part of Danish culture, and perhaps is the secret of happiness for the Danes. 

From what I have understood by studying their lives, most of the Danes live a simple life. They don’t hoard things or get obsessed about rapidly changing trends in fashion and technology. For them, activities like going out on a hike with close friends or enjoying a book by the fireplace is far more valuable than obsessing over things they have no control over.

Some of the activities commonly associated with Hygge by Danes as described in the book are:

  •    Sitting beside a fireplace
  •    Baking cookies, cakes, and other types of pastries
  •    Having an intimate dinner with family and friends
  •    Snuggling under a thick blanket with your loved one
  •    Wearing a cozy cardigan
  •    Going on a nature hike
  •    Taking a long hot bath
  •    Listening to relaxing music
  •    Performing meditation or mindfulness exercises
  •    Writing down the things you are thankful for in a daily journal
  •    Lighting up scented candles
  •    Cooking and savoring your favorite dish
  •    Spending the evening by the fireplace with your loved ones
  •    Taking a long, hot shower in the morning
  •    Dressing yourself up with the most comfortable pieces of clothing that you can find
  •    Reading a book while drinking a cup of hot chocolate
  •    Admiring the scenery as you breathe in and out in deliberate manner
  •    Putting down your cell phone and personally socializing with other people instead
  •    Watching your favorite movie while cozying up under a woolen duvet
  • And more…

Everyone can achieve Hygge

Hygge has become a global phenomena. It transcends not just geographical boundaries and cultures, but also the seasons and climates. There is truly no excuse to avoid inculcating the wonderful principles of hygge in our lives. 

With Hygge you can create special moments with your loved ones wherever and whenever you want. It helps you improve  the quality of your living without having to spend so much of your resources. Most importantly, it teaches you to place greater importance on your personal experiences and relationships with other people, than on material things. 

If you want to learn the ways of Hygge in greater detail, I recommend that you read Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life by Alexander Parker.  

Hygge will give you a chance to improve the overall quality of your life. At its core, this type of lifestyle promotes the idea of removing oneself from situations that could be emotionally overwhelming, and instead, focusing on the things that could make one happy. Compared to other lifestyle trends, hygge does not require much effort or money. In fact, the less you spend, the more hyggelig your life would be !

Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life (Free Preview)

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2 thoughts on “[Book Review] Hygge: The Danish way to a simpler, happier life

  1. usfman

    Slowing down a bit to do Hygge would especially seem to be a nice way to proceed for those currently in isolation because of the Corona pandemic.I’m going to try a few of these activities with my 95 year old mother,

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