Embrace Lagom and Enjoy a Sweet, Simple Life

Finding balance in your life may be the key to happiness.

A woman enjoying a swing is a simple pleasure.

(Stacey Newman / Shutterstock.com)

Moderation and balance may be key when it comes to leading a fulfilling, happy life. This is such an important tenet, the Swedes have a word for this. The Swedish word lagom translates as suitable or perfect-simple. And in a world of extremes, it may be key to know that the right amount is best.

As children we may have subliminally learned lagom from the English fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks was most satisfied with a bowl of porridge, a chair, and a bed that were “just right.’” 

Enjoy a Low-Fuss Life
Adapting the concept to an adult world, this means striving for a low-fuss life. This is a life enjoyed at a moderate pace; work days include breaks and allow for time to appreciate the world outside. In fashion terms, it consists of a wardrobe that is simple and versatile. As for your home, the lagom house is not too large and not too small. It is just right!

Part of the issue in Western society is the way people define success; bigger means better and more denotes importance. In such an equation, excess should lead to happiness, however, it may end up leading one to a life of exhaustion and stress.

Our culture also values extremes, according to Psychology Today, and these are the antidote to a life of moderation. In such a value system, there is no such thing as being too rich or thin, or watching just one show at night. This is a world of binge watching and overeating. Embracing the other extreme, there are those who deny themselves everything including the sugar, the fat, and the fun.

A Selfcare Secret
In a fast-paced, competitive society, there is also a connotation that average is a negative quality. Some may equate moderation with scarcity, abstinence, or even failure. Yet lagom is the balance missing in this mindset.

In fact, embracing lagom may be the Swedish secret behind its high international rankings in happiness, according to Well+Good.  When life is about consistency, there are no ecstatic highs or crashing lows. If you are juggling too much in a day, take on less. If you are going out too much, relax on the couch every so often. This may be the ultimate in selfcare.

Making the shift
Lagom is here to remind us to take that mental shift; less is actually more, while too much of less should be more. Having a coffee and connecting with one friend is more satisfying and relaxing than running around to have ten coffees with ten friends. Socializing need not be dressing up and splurging at an expensive restaurant. Instead, invite friends over for a relaxing home-cooked meal.

As for exercise, you do not have to train for a marathon or be a member of a fancy gym. And you do not need to wear expensive workout clothes to keep fit. Instead, put on a pair of comfortable shoes and go for a calm awe walk in nature. This qualifies as exercise for both body and soul!

Be conscious of making a shift in your life toward lagom. If you like something, take the time to enjoy it. As Well+Good wisely explains, “simple pleasures do not mean simple humans.” Return to the Goldilocks story of your childhood and enter the bear’s house with a lagom approach.

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