Meik Wiking

What the heck is hygge and why do we keep hearing about it? Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish concept about atmosphere and experience, rather than things. It is about feeling cosy, whether enjoying a peaceful moment alone or the company of others. Meik Wiking, the chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, has spent years studying the common denominators among those who consider themselves happy and notes that Denmark consistently reports high levels of happiness. For starters, the country’s policies provide social security, and spending time with loved ones is a key aspect of Danish culture. Wiking explains that hygge incorporates elements of mindfulness such as being present in the here and now and practicing gratitude—meaning focusing on what you have, not what you don’t. An important take-away is that you don’t need to buy anything new to enjoy hyggestund (a moment of hygge): dim the lights and light some candles, find a comfy chair, pour yourself a hot drink, and relax; or bundle up, grab the sled or skis, and head outside to rejuvenate your soul. 


-Michelle McChristie