LAGOM: THE SCANDINAVIAN ART OF LIVING A STRESS-FREE AND HAPPY LIFE


By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali

Lagom is a Swedish term that means “not too little, not too much”. It is all about having the right amount of anything that makes you happy, not more, not less. Lagom is probably why Sweden is ranked as the happiest country across the globe. I mean, in a fast-paced world, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just slow things down and enjoy our lives with less stress, less burden, and more time for everything that makes us happy?

Lagom is a major part of the Scandinavian culture. It encourages people to be gratified with what they have rather than looking for new things for joy and happiness. The book ‘Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living’ explains the true essence of this Scandinavian life trend of Just Enough. Linnea Dunne writes that Lagom is a word that describes something which is just right – like the right amount of milk in our coffee, or the perfect pressure of that body massage. In a broader perspective, the word ‘enough’ goes way behind our emotional wellbeing or interior design, as it becomes something which is all about belonging and shared responsibility.

Anna Brones writes in her book ‘Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way’ that a sense of Lagom should be applied to every aspect of our lives – in what we eat, what we wear, how much we spend, what we buy, how we live, and how we work. She explains that Lagom might just be the trick to living a more balanced, fulfilling and sustainable life that welcomes the pleasures of existence rather than consumption. Sometimes, a nonsensical thirst for more can be devastating for the mind and soul, as it often impairs the judgment and destroys happiness.

Clearing out the Clutter from Life

Having too much stuff often causes the feeling of being overwhelmed, and discontentment with us and our surroundings. In order to begin clearing the clutter out from your life, you need to start small by trimming down your belongings such as old clothes, shoes, and other stuff one room at a time. Donate the stuff that you don’t use anymore because that stuff has no purpose in your life. Only surround yourself with the things that you love and use, and let go of the rest. How many shirts and pants do you really need? If you’re unsure whether to keep or donate an item, ask yourself: would I buy this today if I didn’t have it? Always shop first at your home because when you look inside your closet, then chances are that you’ll find something you’ve long forgotten you owned. Look inside your pantry and create a dish out of the available ingredients. If you wish to buy something that you think you really want to have, wait a day or two and think again, then make a final decision.

Lagom when eating

When it comes to food, the Swedes have achieved something that a lot of other countries struggle with: a balance or harmony. The Swedish diet is greatly diverse with a healthy mix of lean protein, a high focus on vegetables, and whole grain along with fermented dairy. Swedes believe in taking the time to savor the flavors, and they never eat on-the-go. When you eat more attentively, then you’ll be less likely to overeat.

Lagom in your Life

Moderation is something that we should all teach our children as a guiding principle. The children who are raised with constant excess in their lives often grow up thinking only of themselves and no one else. Growing a garden, purchasing locally, and only buying the right quantity of items needed teaches the children that moderation is the key to success and happiness. As a society, we are often terrified of running out of things, like food, money, love, etc. So, we start stockpiling material goods, we cling to relationships, and we often overeat. We live louder, faster, and as a result, we burn out more quickly.

Many people are accustomed to grandiosity and boasting, they often brag, overstate or even lie about themselves. This is what our children embrace in their lives, and they often end up destroying their lives and relationships. However, Lagom squashes this bragging and grandiose behavior. It’s the complete opposite of keeping up with jones. In fact, it shifts the focus to making sure that we’re not taking a slice of what the Jones should have but rather having only that what we desire or need. The Lagom’s focus on only taking your portion and no one else’s is both wise and considerate.

The Bottom Line                                   

If the balance and moderation are your goals, then Lagom has a lot to offer. It knocks out the obsession to brag, lie, overstate, and never be satisfied in any area of life. Lagom is all about teaching our kids that having more, doing more than needed, or bragging often is not what makes them loved or fit in. We should be more be-proud-of-yourself-and-don’t-constantly-seek-outside-approval type. Embracing Lagom is all about changing the state of mind. All it needs is a minor attitude adjustment to integrate mindful and moderate living into everything we do. Lagom, with its message that enough is as good as a feast, just might be the word we need.

Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. Phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and a Certified LSS (USA). The Author has worked in the past as a research analyst and a critical reviewer. He is the founder of The Health Sphere and a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow the author on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit his Linkedin Profile

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