“A Norwegian recipe for happiness: the koselig mindset”
A few years ago, psychologist Kari Leibowitz of Stanford University spent a year investigating the relationship between winter and happiness in the small Norwegian town of Tromsø. This town, with a population of 70,000, is located more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Each year, Tromsø experiences two months of polar nights, with no sun from November to January. Despite living in such extreme conditions, the inhabitants of Tromsø are remarkably happy, and the reason behind their happiness seems to lie in one word: koselig.
The concept of koselig is deeply rooted in Norwegian culture, describing a feeling of security, warmth, and well-being. Writer Ingrid Opstad explains that koselig is the Norwegian version of hygge, which focuses on feeling comfortable and finding joy in the little things, with an emphasis on the social aspect and a connection with nature and the outdoors.
Leibowitz explains that the koselig mindset involves making the best of a bad situation and finding opportunities for reflection, meaning, and stronger social connections. According to her studies, combining scientific evidence with cultural vision, embracing the winter season as a time of joy and opportunity can lead to a mindset that allows individuals to find possibilities even in life’s most challenging stages.
To practice the koselig mentality, Leibowitz offers three key strategies. First, she suggests reducing stress by living in the present and embracing what one has. Second, she recommends reducing stress by staying active and moving the body, even in cold weather. Lastly, she encourages seeking out good company, as quality relationships truly contribute to happiness and overall satisfaction with life.
With Leibowitz’s upcoming book set to be published in 2024, the koselig mindset may offer valuable insights for individuals seeking happiness and contentment, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.