“Lagom”, the Swedish recipe for happiness: What does it mean and how to achieve it?

LAGOM, la receta de la felicidad sueca
Redactora / Travel writer

Sweden is a country that, year after year, maintains its position within the 10 happiest countries in the world. How do they do it? Easy: Lagom. This concept is new to some and heard by others is, basically, the recipe for Swedish happiness : a lagom lifestyle, which includes ways of eating and relating to other people based on in a “medium ” concept. How is that? Literally not too much, not too little. Below we will tell you more about what Lagom means and how to apply it in daily life to achieve this happiness that Sweden has so much advantage over the rest of the countries.

“How is the food? Does it have or is it lacking in salt?” “Lagom

To know the Swedish recipe for happiness it is necessary to understand what the concept means, how to use it and what are the benefits of being able to apply it in our lives. This does not mean that you have to copy the work and way of life in Sweden, but, being one of the happiest countries in the world, it is advisable to know what are the aspects that can be taken into account to make the attempt and be a little happier every day or, at least, achieve greater well-being and quality of life. Have we become philosophers?

Lagom is a philosophy of life, it means a “medium” concep, a concept between “not too much, not too little”, “neither missing nor over” < em> (our grandmothers would say), “neither in excess nor in excess”, the appropriate, the balance, everything in its proper measure and is applied by the inhabitants of the country in all life situations, both in their diet, as in their recreation and leisure, in their jobs, in the relationship with other people and nature and in any situation that may arise, as in a simple conversation.

Lagom is a philosophy of life, it means a “medium” concept, a concept between “not much and not little”.

In a few words, carrying a lagom philosophy implies everything that is in its proper measure, being in balance, not showing off or wasting anything, in any aspect of the life, in order to continue maintaining this equity and avoid excess, seeking to have a healthier and more serene life.

According to some, lagom comes from Taoism, an ancient philosophy that encouraged moderation in all aspects. < / blockquote>

What is the lagom lifestyle like?

Not too much, not too little… in the right measure. In Sweden, the lagom concept is no longer something modern or novel, but rather a philosophy that has been applied for years, in different aspects of life and by each inhabitant of this country of happiness. Not for nothing is Sweden the cover of the magazine for its sustainable innovations, its recycling capacity, its reduction in working hours, the enjoyment of nature and the good quality of life, regardless of the climate that may be very difficult to travel, especially in this region of northern Europe.

In addition, Sweden is one of the 10 happiest countries in the world which, together with Denmark, has created concepts instilled in the lives of its inhabitants and ensuring that communities have more quality of life standards, not only because of their stable economies but also because they find the importance of good human, labor, sports and nature relations.

Countries like Sweden have managed to find the importance in good human, labor, sports and nature relations.

Lagom can be in life even if one does not notice it and no matter how small, the actions that are carried out during the routine, at rest, at work or even when going to make a purchase, too they adapt to this philosophy.

How to be, IKEA, the Swedish company selling all kinds of household items, a new program has started called “ IKEA Live Lagom community ” which in its Spanish translation would be something like “the community that lives lagom”. This program promotes the production of household items that, in addition to following the philosophy of “the right amount is the best”, creates ideas, tips and products that seek the sustainability of objects, articles that promote recycling and elements that can be used to follow this objective.

IKEA lagom idea: reuse plastic bottles to create flower pots. Photo: IKEA Live Lagom community

How to avoid stress? One word: Lagom

As we have been telling you, lagom is a philosophy of life so, applying it in the aspects that one can, allows to act ahead of possible stressful situations that one as a person can go through in life daily.

“Lowering a change” is part of the lagom and knowing how to listen, wait, be patient, enjoy the moment and the little things, not overdo what is not necessary, stay energized, feel the vibrations of nature, become almost a mantra for Swedish society and manage to reduce stress levels to incredible numbers, staying in society and community but respecting the lonely moments that, instead to see them as a problem, they are also enjoyed.


So how do you adopt the lagom lifestyle?

With the stress that all the members of consumer societies carry, the routine that traps each person, with the demands of each person’s work or the inevitable problems of daily life, find a way to “Don’t stress out” can seem a bit complicated. Even turning back at times until it is unattainable to follow this concept of maintaining a “balanced” style with the environment and with oneself.

There are many experts who have investigated this type of concept and how to apply it in life to improve the quality of life of people, regardless of the country & nbsp; in which they live, the social, economic or cultural conditions of each population or even the time that may be available to implement it.


However, lagom, this word so integrated into Swedish society and created for this purpose, is a way of life that everyone can apply, even if it is in small aspects of life, without having to make big changes in the routine but through small actions that bear fruit over repetitions and time. In what way?

According to the experts, these are the 10 points to follow to adopt lagom in our lives

  1. Ser respectful with the environment : consume plastic-free products and recycle packaging materials, bottles and more garbage.
  2. Keep a clean home : avoid excess purchases, furniture at home or spaces full of things. In other words, do not accumulate, because nothing in excess is good and a clear and minimalist environment makes one value what one has and also generates a feeling of calm and balance. So, also lagom in the decoration? Absolutely!
  3. Rethinking personal priorities : if it seems that the hours of the day are “not enough” for everything that needs to be done, reorganize yourself, rethink what the Priorities, letting go of the problem and “restarting” attitudes make life lag, in mental balance and stress reduction.
  4. Deprejudice alone time: As we told you at the beginning, being alone and enjoying the moment is also part of lagom, so not worrying about lonely moments is a great way to practice this philosophy.
  5. Lagom at work : the right measure of working, doing it correctly and resting is part of lagom and concentrating I know the essentials and organizing tasks creates a feeling of balance.
  6. Rearranging the closet : nothing in excess is good and having a closet with clothes everywhere, disorder And not finding anything when dressing can cause anxiety, which is what lagom wants to avoid. Swedes buy clothing that is fair, useful and in color matching, if possible, of quality, so that it can last throughout the months.
  7. Learning to listen: conversations between Swedes seem scripted: one speaks, the other listens until he finishes speaking and then the other interlocutor expresses what he wants to say, without interruptions or at least avoiding them. Learning to listen levels anxiety and avoids complications when one “speaks without thinking.”
  8. Make others happy to find your own happiness: Even if it seems strange, do Happy to another person can generate personal benefit, feeling good about what has been accomplished. This is also part of the lagom and part of the stability and balance that is sought.
  9. Doing small acts: putting the lagom way of life to the test does not mean starting to do great actions, but with small acts (even personal) you are already beginning to adopt this philosophy of life, changing the routine with small transformations, recycling daily products or stopping consuming non-recyclable waste, is a great first step. < / li>

Hygge, the recipe for Danish happiness

As lagom is “owned” by Sweden, Denmark has its own concept and calls it Hygge, also a key factor in Danish happiness that literally < strong> is one of the happiest countries in the world. The translation would be something like “cozy” and means the importance of feeling “at home”, at ease, forgetting all the problems of life. For a Danish, hygge < / em> could be going to eat at a restaurant with friends, sitting in front of a fireplace sipping hot coffee on a cold winter night, or sitting alone and reading a book in the park on a sunny day.

There is not a single action that means Hygge but each person gives it their own definition, depending on which place is the one that best corresponds to them.


In short, lagom is “interpreted” (because there is no literal translation) as a way of life, a philosophy, a way of acting prior to possible stress, where one seeks balance in daily life, in routine, in the way of relating in different aspects and even with oneself.

It is a way to reduce anxiety through small steps and understand that “fair is enough”, that happiness is not euphoria, but measure, where it invites the human being to find calm in the little things and in enjoying what one has. The Swedish recipe for happiness can be summed up in one word: lagom. Would you add it to your day to day?

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