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'Just enough': How the Swedish concept of ‘lagom’ can help you find contentment

Lagom is the right amount of everything.

sweden, lagom, satisfaction

A woman salutes the sun in Adolfsström, Sweden.

American culture is out of balance. We work too hard, consume too much and live under constant stress. Our culture tells us to get rich or die trying and that resting is laziness. We take very few vacations, spend too much time staring at screens, and our diets are overly reliant on processed foods.

It’s no wonder over 37 million Americans are on antidepressants.

The antidote to this unsustainable lifestyle could come from a Swedish philosophy known as “lagom” (lah-gomm), which translates to “just the right amount.” Living lagom means developing a mindset focused on balance, sustainability and living in the moment. It’s learning to appreciate what we have instead of striving for what we don’t.


Lagom teaches us that we don’t need to live in a penthouse or struggle in a tenement. It’s all about finding a place that is calm and comfortable. It means considering whether to have that second piece of cake for dessert, knowing when to pick your winnings off the table and understanding that it's ok to say “no.”

It’s choosing to be satisfied instead of over-indulging because the secret is that the lightness of satisfaction is more fulfilling than the burden of indulgence.

Are you looking to live lagom? Here are 7 ways to get started.

1. Know when to take a break

According to research, working at a breakneck speed and refusing to take a break will actually hurt your work performance. Get up, take a walk, have a cup of coffee with a friend or coworker and take a moment for yourself regularly.

2. Declutter your home

“The fewer items you have in your home, the more likely that you'll be able to appreciate each and every possession you own,” Niki Brantmark, founder of My Scandinavian Home, tells Livingetc.

sweden, lagom, minimalism

A minimalist living room.

via Pexels

3. Enjoy nature

Lagom is about appreciating nature by respecting it through sustainable living. But it's also about enjoying the natural world. “There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well-being,” Lisa Nisbet, Ph.D., told the American Psychological Association. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”

4. Have an attitude of gratitude

It's only possible to find contentment and satisfaction in life if you appreciate what you already have. Further, without gratitude, you won't enjoy the things you strive for either. "He who knows he has enough is rich," Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu writes in the “Tao Te Ching.”

5. Be present

Balance is all about living in the now and being present instead of being focused on the past or preoccupied with the future. Happiness only exists in the current moment that you have right now, so embrace it.

6. Live drama-free

There’s no need to put up with unnecessary agitation, whether that comes from the people in our lives or our habits that don’t bring us joy. Simplifying our social media lives, so we experience fewer distractions, aggravations and unnecessary comparisons is a great way to live lagom.

7. Eat well, but enjoy yourself

Eating a balanced diet means a lot of different things to different people. But striving for perfection and depriving yourself or overindulging and being unhealthy aren’t paths to contentment.

Representative Image from Canva

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You would think the “right answer” would be largely up to personal preference, much like which way to face while showering and whether or not to snack in the shower…two previous hot button issues online.

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Photo (left) by Joana Godinho on Unsplash, Photo (right) by Robert Larsson on Unsplash

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Despite record unemployment, a booming stock market and easing inflation, Americans are still feeling squeezed at the cash register. We knew the pandemic was going to cause economic woes, and to be fair, things could be a lot worse, but that doesn't ease the shock of seeing the total on a receipt that's far more than we used to pay.

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Mel Robinson making a TED Talk.

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You're not alone. Art, as we know, is subjective, and just because a movie is liked by many, it doesn't mean it will be liked by everyone.

When Reddit user u/imnachos asked: "What is a film you didn't really enjoy that everyone seemed to like?" their question got thousands of comments from less-than-enthused moviegoers. Some choices were to be expected, such as classics that maybe don't hold up so well with a modern lens. But then a few films that seem completely harmless and universally loved made the list.

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Mel Robbins at the TEDx San Francisco event.

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That’s why we’re sharing a simple piece of advice from Mel Robbins that can hopefully uplift those feeling down by providing them with a simple tool to help when they feel hopeless.

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Church singer with 'next-level' range covers Adele and wows audiences on 'The Voice'

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The Voice/Youtube

Asher HaVon singing "Set Fire To The Rain"

Back in December of 2023, Adele told The Hollywood Reporter that she wasn’t fond of other people covering her songs since they cannot relate to them on the same level.

“I don’t mind it when they do, but I’m just saying they’re never going to be able to emote it,” she said.

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