The human world is menagerie of customs, traditions and innumerable approaches to the mysterious experience we call Life. A shared appreciation of health, however, unites all cultures presently and throughout history. Here are five colorful examples of wellness philosophies and practices around the globe to inspire and expand your self-care horizons.
From Danish hygge ("coziness, comfort")
Hygge is a Danish word that refers to a feeling of coziness and contentment. It emphasizes the importance of creating a warm and inviting environment, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying simple pleasures like hot drinks and comfort food. Hygge can include lighting candles, snuggling up with blankets, reading books, and sharing meals with friends and family. Hygge is practiced as a way to promote mental and emotional wellbeing.
Navajo hózhó ("beauty, harmony, balance, order")
Hózhó is a Navajo word that represents a fundamental concept in Navajo philosophy, encompassing a variety of meanings that range from beauty to balance to order. The Navajo people believe that when an individual attains balance within themselves and with their environment, they experience a profound sense of inner peace and contentment. This harmony is achieved by living a life that is guided by the principles of Hózhó, which include practicing kindness, generosity, and respect for all living beings. By embracing the values of Hózhó, we can cultivate a sense of balance and harmony in our own lives and in the world around us.
/ʃɪnˌrɪn ˈjoʊku/ (SHIN-rin YOH-koo)
Japanese shinrin-yoku ("forest-bathing")
Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," is a Japanese practice that involves spending time in nature to improve mental and physical health. It has demonstrated the power to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Shinrin-yoku involves walking slowly through the forest, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Forest therapy programs have been established throughout the country, and the practice has gained popularity around the world.
/fi:ka/ (FEE-ka) Swedish fika, formed by backslang of the syllables in the dialectal word kaffi (“coffee”)
Fika is a wonderful Swedish tradition that has been around for many years. It involves taking a break in the middle of the day, usually around 3 or 4 pm, to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with a pastry or snack such as a cinnamon roll or a cardamom bun. Fika is seen as a way to connect with others and promote socializing in the workplace or in daily life, and is a great opportunity to recharge and refocus before continuing with the day's tasks.
Sanskrit yoga ("yoke" or "union")
Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy which has become popular around the world. In its Western incarnation, yoga involves physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, and is seen as a way to promote physical and mental wellbeing. The practice has been shown to reduce stress, improve flexibility and balance, and boost overall health. Yoga is often used as a form of exercise, but it is also viewed as a spiritual practice that can help us connect with our inner selves and achieve greater clarity and peace of mind.