There have been many studies of what makes us happy, and is this something that we can recreate outside of a selective, seemingly artificial studies. Meik Wiking is the CEO of Happiness Research Research Institute in Copenhagen, and he has spent a great deal of time surveying people and looking into just this issue. He was fortunate to find answers right in his backyard.
What the The Little Book of Hygge discusses is that one of the reasons the Danes register as so happy on a number of indices is that they invest both time an energy into hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) which translates into “comfort” or “well-being”.
What this book discusses, is that like many aspects on the path discussed in yoga, the things that bring us comfort and well-being take a conscious effort, and some of them take investment or both external items, such as pillows and candles (the Danes LOVE candles), as well as those actions that are less tangible, such as gatherings with friends, outings, nature.
What is lovely about The Little Book of Hygge is that is carefully organized into easily accessible areas of influence on our own journeys to comfort and well-being. Some of them center solely around lighting, while others are more expansive to food and drink. The overarching theme is that hygge is more than these items, it is a mentality, a way of looking at how we interact with the world.
Also discussed, which is another concept that relates to our practice is the joy we can get from our everyday pleasures when we live in a place that places those things in focus. In Denmark there is a lot of cold, and a lot of darkness. Something to which we can relate to on some level here in Michigan ;). We have the opportunity to use this time to gather close to those around us, and then when… IF… it warms up, we have the chance to revel in this time. To celebrate the light! The warmth!
Let’s spend some time in the upcoming weeks getting into a space where we recognize some areas that make us comfortable, and add to our sense of well-being.