Last year Meik Wiking’s Little Book of Hygge took the world by storm. It seemed like everyone was lighting candles, sipping on hot chocolate and snuggling down under sheepskins. Sales of cinnamon swirls spiked, and editor Lauren even confessed that she fully embraced winter as a result of hygge. So when I learnt that Wiking had a new book out, The Little Book of Lykke, it fell straight into my virtual basket.
Lykke, pronounced ‘luu-ka’, is the Danish word for happiness. Wiking reckons there are six building blocks to achieving a lykke life: togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust and kindness. He’s travelled the world, literally, in the pursuit of happiness, and in his book he explains how to find a little more lykke in our lives.
Here’s some tips from the book that struck a chord with me.
Love thy neighbour
Wiking waxes lyrical about the importance of knowing your neighbours. It made me think how engrained I have become in our community. Living opposite a park and playground means we often bump into other families that live on our street. Lyra regularly accompanies our eleven-year-old neighbour on dog walks. I’m practically on a first name basis with the ladies in my local post office (Asos returns will do that to you).
Interestingly, Wiking also says there’s an advantage in living in a defined community, for example a cul-de-sac is more inclusive than a normal ‘through’ road. I’ve lived on both and I’m pretty sure that whilst we were house-hunting I was subconsciously drawn to houses on cul-de-sacs, possibly for this very reason.
I do realise the irony of this, bearing in mind you may well be reading this on your phone. However it always makes me wonder what the world is coming to when I see people out with their other halves/their friends and everyone at the table is on their phone…
Wiking talks about an experiment carried out by the Happiness Research Institute (of which he is CEO, obvs) about the effect of Facebook on happiness. They found that the participants who gave up Facebook for a week felt less lonely, more sociable and more satisfied with life in general. I guess it’s common sense but something to bear in mind every once in a while.
Buy experiences, not things
This resonates with me because when I look back and think about our happiest times, they are nearly all memories of holidays or day trips or weekends away. As such, if I’m lucky enough to be asked by family for suggestions of what to buy the kids for Christmas, I will definitely be asking for pennies to spend on experiences rather than material goods.
Which brings me on to the last time that I experienced lykke. It was Sunday afternoon, Lyra was rolling down the side of a hill and laughing her head off, Jenson was babbling in his pushchair and crinkly leaves were swirling all around us. If you’d passed me a hot chocolate and a cinnamon bun I would probably have died and gone to heaven.
So all in all, I bloody loved the book and I think I love Wiking even more. He’s self deprecating, honest and funny. You can’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm for lykke and his love for Denmark, reportedly the world’s happiest country. Wiking, if you’re reading this, please may we have a guest post from you on these pages?
When was the last time you felt truly happy? Were you hooked on hygge and will you be embracing lykke? Anyone else a Wiking fangirl?