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10 Easy Steps To Get Your Hygge On & The Hygge Books That Will Help!

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It’s time to get cozy, hygge-style! In this article you’ll find out:

  • What exactly hygge is
  • How to pronounce it correctly (video)
  • The 10-step hygge manifesto, created by the author of the bestselling The Little Book of Hygge audiobook
  • Our recommended audiobooks for getting your hygge on point

Just want to see the books? Click here!

What is Hygge?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary hygge is:

A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)

We’re totally pro-cozy at hibooks. Almost all of us have listened to Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge audiobook and then rushed out to fill every knook, cranny, and alcove with blankets from Target — and now with click and collect, we can all stay cozy in our cars.

However, Wiking, a hygee expert (what a job!), says that hygge isn’t just about soft furnishings. It’s also about ‘experiences’:

It’s about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. You may be having an endless conversation…or just be comfortable in each other’s silent company – or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea.

The Little Book of Hygge. The Danish Way to Live Well

It seems only right that as we’re all guzzling down pumpkin-spiced lattes now is the ideal time to close those curtains, plump the pillows, and single-handedly support the scented-candle industry. Inspired by The Little Book of Hygge we’ve put together a list of essential hygge to-dos, along with bestselling hygge books, and some recommended audiobooks to help you take your coziness to a whole new level.

How to Pronounce Hygge

Scandinavian language experts aside, I’m assuming most of us have no idea how to pronounce hygge. Common mispronunciations include: hooga, hhyooguh, heurgh. Here’s a video to help you out. You’ll thank me next time you’re in Copenhagen rolling around in a sea of throw cushions.

How to Hygge: 10 easy ways to get cozy and content

The Hygge Manifesto by Meik Wiking:

  1. Atmosphere: turn down those electric lights and break out the candles
  2. Presence: Facebook will be quietly selling your data whether you’re occupied by your phone or not, so turn it off
  3. Pleasure: hygge is pro-chocolate, cookies, cakes, and candy
  4. Equality: hygge is not only a cozy space, but a safe space
  5. Gratitude: take stock of what you’ve got (if you’ve followed 3. then you’ve probably got stomach ache)
  6. Harmony: arrogance isn’t hyggelieg. Keep it to yourself
  7. Comfort: blankets at the ready people, nothing says cozy like an itchy mohair shawl
  8. Truce: put your differences and grievances aside and just enjoy your time together
  9. Togetherness: talk about your shared memories, “do you remember the time we…?”
  10. Shelter: this is your space and your time. Relish the sense of peace and security

Hygge Books

According to Wiking “taking a break with a good book is a cornerstone in the concept of hygge. The genre does not matter – romance, sci-fi, cookbooks, or even horror stories, all books are hyggelig .”

The Little Book of Hygge. Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking, narrated by the author

The Little Book of Hygge. Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. Book cover with illustrations of a steaming teapot flanked by lit candles. Hygge books - the hibooks blog
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Meik Wiking’s bestselling The Little Book of Hygge audiobook is the perfect intro for those fresh to hygge. He breaks down the concept into its most important parts (see the hygge manifesto above) with handy tips and a hygge dictionary. He also gives advice on how to hygge outside the home, during Christmas and summer, and how to hygge on a budget.

The Book of Hygge. The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits, narrated by Kim Mai Guest

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The Book of Hygge is a flowery, poetic accompaniment to Meik’s ‘how to’ vibe, adding meditations into the mix. Cozy mindfulness awaits!

The Little Book of Lykke. Secrets of the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking, narrated by the author

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Building on the happiness inherent in hygge, Wiking upped sticks from Denmark to investigate how people around the world understand and cultivate happiness. He traveled to Dubai, Finland, Rio de Janeiro, Bhutan, South Korea, and the United States. He identified six factors that explain the majority of differences in happiness across the world:

  • Togetherness
  • Money
  • Health
  • Freedom
  • Trust
  • Kindness

With his trademark warmth and wit, Meik explores the happiness gap for parents, how much money you actually need to buy happiness, how to be healthier without having to buy a gym membership, how we can learn to build trust and collaboration, how we can help ourselves by helping others, and why our expectations often outweigh our reality.

Lagom. Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark, narrated by Ana Clements

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The Danes aren’t the only Scandinavians who understand happiness; the Swedes are at it too. In Lagom Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life, Niki Brantmark explores the concept of lagom  meaning “the right amount is best; in moderation, in balance.” Strangely enough, lagom originated with the Vikings — not often praised for their love of peace and moderation. At Viking gatherings, a bowl of mead was passed around, with all present making sure that each sipped ‘just enough’ or had ‘their fair share’ so that all could enjoy themselves.

Deeply ingrained in the Swedish psyche, lagom is about enjoying balance in every aspect of life—from work and leisure to family and food and everything in between. Experienced bakers know by touch when dough they’re kneading is “lagom“—not too moist and not too dry.

Frientimacy. How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness by Shasta Nelson, narrated by Robin Eller

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The hygge manifesto and other aficionados consider togetherness integral to doing hygge right. In Frientimacy, Shasta Nelson looks at how the modern world encourages connections but not necessarily relationships. Shashta, an award-winning speaker, outlines how we can develop fragile acquaintances into deeper, long-term friendships. She advises how to avoid common pitfalls, including pulling away from a friendship too soon if it isn’t instantly gratifying. She shows how friendships built on dedication and commitment can lead to enriched relationships, stronger and more meaningful ties, and an overall increase in mental health.

How to Break Up with Your Phone. The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price, narrated by Emily Rankin

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In The Little Book of Hygge audiobook, Wiking makes the demand we all fear the most: “Be here now. Turn off the phones”

I know, I broke out in a sweat too, but hear me out. Answer the following questions truthfully (I’ll put my answers in brackets):

  1. Do you reach out for your phone as soon as you wake up (Steve: obviously, I’m a normal person)
  2. Do you resolve to spend less time on your phone, but can’t follow through? (Steve: yes, Tinder won’t swipe itself, now will it?)

In the How to Break Up With Your Phone audiobook, award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.

You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

Note: it goes without saying that I urge you to continue using your phone to read this blog post (and any others on the hibooks blog), and to listen to audiobooks. Some things are just too precious to give up, right?

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks, narrated by Dan Woren

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Be honest: developing a sense of gratitude isn’t easy. Luckily, modern oracle Oliver Sacks is here to help us do just that based on his experiences during the end of his life. The man himself says:

My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure

Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.

O’s Little Book of Calm & Comfort by The Editors of O, The Oprah Magazine, narrated by Ari Fliakos, Cynthia Hopkins, Gabra Zackman, Helen Litchfield

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From talk show host to self-care, you-do-you guru, Oprah has influenced the wellbeing of millions of people across the world. O’s Little Book of Calm and Comfort features some of the best interviews and articles that have graced the pages of Oprah’s magazine, including Nora Ephron on the state of rapture that comes from curling up with a good book [hygge!]; Maeve Binchy on the blessings of friends [hygge!]; and a stirring conversation between Oprah and the American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron that reveals how the pain we experience can create the possibility of a more joyful life [not quite hygge]

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan, narrated by the author

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How to hygge is pretty shameless when it comes to carbohydrates, candy, and sugar in general (The Danes eat on average 8.3kg of candy a year, double the European average.) With all this mind, I feel no shame in recommending the Food: A Love Story audiobook by Jim Gaffigan, even if Oprah wouldn’t approve. Some super quotes from the audiobook include: “chocking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover” and “kale is the early morning of foods”

Insights include: why he believes coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, why pretzel bread is #3 on his most important inventions of humankind (behind the wheel and the computer), and the answer to the age-old question “which animal is more delicious: the pig, the cow, or the bacon cheeseburger?”

Get cozy, get comfort eating!

Feeling cozy yet? If you have any personal tips on how to create the coziest of cozy atmospheres, leave your suggestions below in the comments, we’d love hear them! Now that you’re hygged to the hilt, you’ll need some audiobooks to listen to, right? Check our teams recommended audiobooks for suggestions on what to listen to next.

Avatar
Steve Partridge

Steve is from the UK and has lived in London, Bulgaria, and Berlin. He studied Christian theology at King’s College London and spent several years working in publishing. His articles, books reviews, interviews and essays have been published in a range of digital and print magazines. In 2012, he was shortlisted for the Brighton Fringe Festival Writers Prize. His obsession with books and writing led him to start his own ‘BookTube’ channel on YouTube (to which you should probably subscribe). You can find him talking nonsense on Twitter @StPartridge.

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