A Norwegian word for a concept we all need
An article making the rounds of the internet calls out 7 Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have in the U.S. We’d like to focus on the aspect of outdoor living by picking out Friluftsliv and Shinrin-yoku—and then the bonus indoor Hygge.
“Free air life” … Friluftsliv
Literally translated from Norwegian, Friluftsliv was coined in 1859 to express the benefits to the human mind and spirit of being outside. Practicing Friluftsliv is as easy as being outside in the way that best suits you—a nature walk, a hike, a run, an adventure, a hammock with a book, a porch with a cup of coffee, a dog park with a dog … whatever gets you to get outside is the perfect Friluftsliv!
Shinrin-yoku means “forest bathing” in Japanese. This idea treats being outside as preventative medicine. And there’s even science behind it: natural allelochemic substances known as phytoncides, which occur in garlic, onion, pine, tea tree, and oak, are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost the growth of cancer-fighting white blood cells. So when you bathe in trees (we recommend NOT bathing in garlic), you help your system.
Say you’re just not the outdoorsy type. Lucky for you, those exceptional happy Danes have a term for you. Hygge is loosely translated at “togetherness,” and “coziness,” referring to a mental state. This is where snuggling into a blanket, sitting by a fire, and enjoying a candlelit dinner all come into play for happiness.