Scandinavia is one of the happiest places on Earth, nonetheless. According to the annual World Happiness Report, Nordic countries — the likes of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are among the top 10 happiest nations in the world. With that fact in mind, we could surmise a thing or two about the Scandinavians: their strong social support, social cohesion as the most peaceful countries on Earth as well. Uh! Give it up for the Scandinavians. Here are five life philosophies from Nordic countries that might make you a little happier in your own life.
Related media: Happiest Countries In The World: Explained
This Danish concept translates as the “feeling of coziness.” Its the feeling of that awe-inspiring moment when you and your significant other are sipping some coffee. Ahhh! For a life philosophy, its all about having the opportunity to free yourself from all the hustle-and-bustle, and resorting to a state of inner peace with the people around you.
“Hygge could be families and friends getting together for a meal, with the lighting dimmed, or it could be time spent on your own reading a good book,” Susanne Nilsson, a lecturer at Morley College in the United Kingdom, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). “It works best when there’s not too large an empty space around the person or people.”
This Swedish concept roughly translates as “just right,” or “optimal.” Just as the quote “everything in moderation, including moderation?” That’s simply all that lagom is about. Whether its about how much time you should spend with your significant other, or how much of your life should you commit to working, this philosophy encourages you to live a healthy balanced life with whatever you do.
“Lagom pushes us to find our own individual levels of contentment, inner peace, and most natural operating state.” Lola Akinmade-Åkerström, the author of ’Lagom: The Swedish Secret to Living Well.’ “What makes it a very Swedish (or Nordic) [philosophy] is just how often lagom pulls us from individual focus to group focus.”
This is simply the Danish word for “happiness.” Fair enough! For all those Nordic countries in the World Happiness Report, Denmark is routinely ranked at the very top, and there’s surely a thing to learn from the Danes. In the book ‘The Little Book of Lykke,’ Meik Wiking grouped happiness into six categories: togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness.
For instance, to feel more togetherness in your life, you could organize a dinner for the whole family, instead of just a few. To get enough happiness, find time and devote yourself to heavy-leisure activities that are more fun to do with the people around you, or even having enough time to relax can seem a lot more soothing than just feeling its a lazy habit. After all, you need to be happy.
The other philosophies aforementioned are all about having to enjoy life; sisu is sort of the counter-philosophy. No spoilers. However, its all about having to persist through the most difficult challenges until you achieve what you want. Sounds inspiring!
“Sisu is a unique Finnish concept,” Finlandia University writes on their website. “It is a Finnish term that can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.”
It’s not about courage in the moment, but the kind of courage that has to last over time — after inspiration has sputtered out and the real challenge has shown itself. No wonder it’s also the name of a towering Arctic mountain — a mountain first ascended by a Finnish mountaineer.
Fika is the most favorite among all Nordic philosophies. Its just a fancy Swedish vocabulary for a coffee break — its just the reversed syllables of the Swedish “kaffe,” which literally means (you guessed it) coffee. But this is not just a coffee break for the Swedes, its actually a social retreat from the stresses of the day by having to socialize with people around you, something we often do. In reality, the Swedish tradition of fika is all about having time for a quick relaxation during long working hours. In essence, all work and no break, makes Jack a dull worker. And talking of breaks, its time we do so, and we’d love a fika right now.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Jun 05, 2019.