Happy Hygge Days

By Claudia Kawczynska, February 2018
Abby and Kobi Bear in a hygge moment.

Abby and Kobi Bear in a hygge moment.

In his charming Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking observes that hygge (HOO-ga) is about “an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with those we love. A feeling of home.” While commonly associated with Denmark, hygge has its roots in a Norwegian word for “well-being.” Tracing it further back, it comes from the word hug, which itself stems from the 1560s word hugge that meant—yes, you got it —“to embrace.” The spark behind all of these good vibes is none other than oxytocin, aka “the love hormone.” As Wiking, who is CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute, notes, whether with a person or a pet, the act of cuddling/hugging makes both participants feel loved, warm and safe—the very essence of hygge. This season is an ideal time to plunge into “hyggelig” as we celebrate in the company of those who are dear to us (both human and canine), sharing hygge’s key concepts of comfort, gratitude, pleasure and togetherness.

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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