So you’ve tried minimalism and you’ve tried hygge. Maybe neither of them felt quite right. But have you heard of the lifestyle that kind of combines the two? That my lovely friends is lagom (lar-ghom). What is lagom? Besides being another difficult Scandinavian word to pronounce, lagom is often referred to as the Goldilocks Lifestyle.
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Lagom is a Swedish principle that is deeply ingrained in their culture. Lagom follows some of the principles of minimalism in that you avoid hyper-consumption. But it also adds the coziness of hygge without drowning in a mountain of throw pillows. Its purpose is to strike a balance between all areas of your life through moderation.
According to Google Translate, lagom directly translates to “moderate” or everything in moderation. The whole idea is not too much, not too little. Hence, the picky and very particular Goldilocks of having things just right.
What is lagom?
The Swedes believe that this is the best way to live a happy life. Lagom is so deeply indoctrinated into the culture that it is visible in everything from work life, to their homes, and even in their political systems. Their belief is that everyone should have enough but not too much.
It strikes a balance between minimalism and hygge too. You don’t need to be drowning in piles of cozy blankets and scented candles. Nor do you need to feel like you can only own one spoon. Lagom is the happy medium between the two.
Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.
This is a lifestyle that leaks over into all areas of life. Having work-life balance, having just the right amount of possessions, healthy frugality, reducing stress, all the way down to eating just the right amount of food at meal times.
Benefits of Incorporating Lagom into Your Life
You remove yourself from extremes.
In modern culture, we tend to gravitate between extremes. Diets + bingeing. Daily Crossfit + Neflix marathons. Working overtime + working barely enough. Black + white. These extremes end up leaving us feel depleted, exhausted, and unhappy. The goal should be that happy medium of “just enough”. Just enough work and play. A healthy diet and some cake once in a while. Crossfit + an episode a day. When we are constantly depriving ourselves from the things we enjoy and the things we need to do, we end up burning out from them and heading towards the other extreme.
If I were to describe Lagom in a few words it would be the “happiest grey area ever”. A grey area where you feel fulfilled by working out just enough, eating just enough, sleeping enough, and adventuring enough. Gluttony ain’t cute girl, and in modern western culture we are the queens and kings at gluttony.
And because of that grey area that lagom makes you see, you’ll probably have a good shift in mindset too. Things aren’t all bad and they aren’t all good. They are grey: both good and bad. You cannot appreciate the beauty of life without seeing the ugly sides too. So with lagom, appreciation, gratitude, and perspective can be gained.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”Madeleine L’Engle, A Ring of Endless Light
You’ll be happier
Happiness begins with having your basic needs met and ends with gratitude and love of what your life is and is becoming. By incorporating lagom into your life, you clear away the excess and add in the things that are needed and wanted. When things are just right, you feel good. That’s why Goldilocks stole porridge and slept in a stranger’s bed – it just felt just right. **note: this is just a joke, don’t steal from people and I can’t condone sleeping in stranger’s beds – Goldilocks is a weird kid**. We’re not aiming for that giddy over the top joy that burns bright but fizzles out quickly like a gasoline fire. We’re shooting for that deep contentedness and joy that is long lasting in your life. Lagom helps you find that long lasting campfire smolder feeling of joy that touches every part of and everyone in your life.
You’ll be healthier
Living in excess or in deprivation isn’t healthy. Your body and mind don’t do well in extremes typically. By practicing lagom you keep your body and mind in homeostasis (aka keeping your internal stability). You’re not too hungry, you’re not too full.
There is fulfillment in “just enough”
So, what is lagom? Lagom is partially fulfillment. Living a fulfilling life isn’t about if you have the most or the least. Fulfillment is really just about finding the things that spark a fire in your soul and living in a way that continues to feed that fire. And to keep any healthy fire going, you have to strike a balance. Lagom helps you get there.
The Swedish lifestyle may have it all figured out. Life in moderation is from what I’ve seen the best way to live. Between the benefits for your mental and physical health and the mindset shifts it creates, lagom is like the perfect porridge of lifestyles.
With the Swedes belief that everyone should have enough but not too much, perhaps this is why Sweden is consistently rated as one of the best and happiest places to live. What can lagom do for your life? Do you need more moderation?
If you’re looking for more information on lagom or just wondering how to better incorporate it into your life check out Live Lagom: Balanced Living, the Swedish Way by Anne Brones. It’s amazingly inspirational and helpful on creating a balanced life.