The Hygge Manifesto: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Have you heard of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) yet? If not, get ready. This Danish way of life turned cultural phenomenon essentially translates to cozy. Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy” to “coziness of the soul” just to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about here.

In his book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, Meik Wilking provides us with a manifesto of sorts in order to practice hygge and attain complete peace and happiness. Keep reading to see the breakdown of what comprises hygge.


The first step in practicing hygge is creating the right atmosphere. To the Danes, no recipe for hygge is complete without candlelight. According to Wilking, when Danes are asked what they most associate with hygge, 85% will mention candles. According to the European Candle Association, each Dane burns around six kilos of candle wax each year. As you can tell, they don’t mess around!

So pick up some candles and set the right mood. If you do this, you are well on your way to happy living.


The second aspect of the hygge manifesto is presence. In our busy lives, this aspect of hygge is something we could all try to practice every day. After you’ve set the mood with your candles, turn your phone off. Don’t check your email; simply turn off all outside distractions. This isn’t to say you can’t use any technology, although the Danes would prefer you grabbed a book or board game instead.


If you haven’t been sold on hygge yet, this one may get you. From a culinary perspective, hygge is all about giving yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. This isn’t just about eating all the delicious sweets that you shouldn’t eat lots of, but rather, it’s about taking the time to bake and savor what you’re making.

Wiking suggests that foods like cake, hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, or a hearty stew are the essential meals of hygge.


The fourth element of hygge is equality. This isn’t equality in the typical sense, but rather equality in the sense of you sharing the experience with someone you care about. So before you set out on your journey to happiness through hygge, see if a close friend or loved one is willing to join you.


The fifth element of hygge is gratitude. It’s easy to forget, but remembering to be grateful for all that you have can produce a tremendous amount of happiness. Find joy and thankfulness in even the smallest of things. For example, take a few moments to reflect on the happiness that morning cup of coffee brings you. It’s the simplest thing but your day wouldn’t be the same without it!


Harmony, in this case, is all about living in the moment and being one with your surroundings. Hygge is not the time to brag about your accomplishments or talk down about someone else. Hygge is meant to be a peaceful experience that creates a feeling of nothing but love, comfort, and joy.


Everything we’ve done to this point has created a comfortable vibe, but the seventh element of hygge is literally comfort. You’ll need some cozy cabin socks, cozy pants like leggings or sweats, and your most comfortable sweatshirt. You also can’t forget your favorite blanket.


The eighth element of hygge pairs well with the concept of harmony. When practicing hygge, leave all drama outside. In order to reach the state of total happiness, you shouldn’t be fighting or dealing with anything that’s getting you down. Hygge is all about positive energy and tranquility.


This element of hygge pairs well with equality. One of the most important aspects of hygge is to create an environment of togetherness. Take time to work on building your relationships, i.e. reminiscing on wonderful memories with whoever you’re practicing hygge with.


Last but not least is the element that brings everything together. You should be practicing hygge in your home, or wherever you feel most at home. When you are at home you should feel nothing but peace and security. Your home should be your sanctuary, the place where you feel the most at peace.

When you combine all of these elements you are truly practicing the Danish way of life.   There’s a reason that Denmark clocked in as the world’s happiest country in the 2016 World Happiness Report. This is the reason.

Written by @properties
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