I am so pleased to be able to introduce one of my absolute Hygge Heroes on to the blog today! His book is being talked about as the Norwegian Wood of Christmas 2016 and he has appeared on TV and radio throughout September and October promoting it!
Meik Wiking is the founder and CEO of The Happiness Institute, an independent think tank dedicated to exploring why some societies are happier than others. It’s based in Copenhagen, the Happiness Capital of the Happiest Country (provably so) so Meik must know a thing or two about happiness.
His new book, The Little Book of Hygge is an absolute jewel of wisdom and advice for making your life happier; and a lot of it starts with attitude. I have already reviewed the book… as my first ever hygge book review!!… and you can read that review if you follow this link; Hygge Book; The Little Book of Hygge.
I was thrilled to be asked to be one of the blogs he would be answering questions for during his Little Book of Hygge Blogtour, and thought long and hard about what I really wanted to know from the Hyggemaster himself. And, since this blog is about making hygge into an everyday part of British life, I started by asking whether the differences between the nations would be a problem. Here are my questions and Meik’s answers.
Q; Britain is a nation of individuals, as opposed to Denmark where Janteloven keeps a degree of sameness about the Danes (no bragging, no excessive consumption). Is it possible for such a diverse nation to achieve hygge together, or is hygge easier in a ‘tribe’ of people who think the same? (there’s been a lot of talk about Brexit and Remainers vs Leave voters causing strife even in families; how could hygge help them?)
Meik; The Little Book of Hygge includes a manifesto and one of the ten points here is Truce: Let’s discuss politics another day. I don´t think diversity is a barrier for hygge. We may have different values, beliefs and opinions, but that doesn´t mean we can´t enjoy spending time together.
In fact, doing so might help us tackle our differences once we need to resolve them.
Q; A lot of the articles and blogs that have gone crazy for hygge have listed things that make life hyggelig. I added up and one article was recommending over £550 of stuff to buy for complete hygge; is hygge another consumer lifestyle choice, or are we missing the boat about what it is?
Meik; Yes, I think they are missing the point. Hygge is about an atmosphere rather than things. Luxury is not hygge. Togetherness, gratitude, simplicity is.
In fact, you can use hygge as a get out of jail card if you enter a restaurant which is too expensive for you – you may turn to your friends and say “Shouldn´t we find a place that is more hyggelig?”.
Q; Does hygge breed happiness or do happy people hygge? And how do you get people who aren’t happy to feel the hygge? Have you ever known hygge help someone who was depressed or ill?
Meik; We can see hygge as a way of socializing. (In fact, it has been called socializing for introverts), and good social relationships impact our happiness, and the causality goes both ways. So hygge breeds happiness and happiness breeds hygge.
Studies suggest that having high levels of happiness leads to better social relationships. The reason may be that happiness increases our level of sociability and improves the quality of the relationships we have. Experiments also show that people in a positive mood express greater interest in social and pro-social activities.
Thank you so much for answering my questions! I hope you have a hyggelig Saturday and that the weather wherever you are now is good enough to get out and bad enough to make the hygge later feel even more hyggelig!
The Little Book of Hygge Blogtour continues for another four days… that’s four more days of different blogs to explore and find out more about hygge! See the list below for details.
And don’t forget that if you’re on Facebook and a Hygge fan, there’s now a group to join. It’s a closed group, so things you post won’t be public or appear on your timeline. It’s a place to talk hygge with like-minded people, where there is no politics and no arguments, except the best tea or coffee for hygge. You can find and request to join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHyggeNook/. We’re waiting to say Hi! to you all x