Life’s Giving You Lemons? These 4 Wellness Philosophies Will Improve The Way You Live

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As we’re nearing the second quarter of the year, we hope 2020 has been good by far. If the new decade started a little rocky for you, it isn’t too late to hit pause, do a little ‘spring clean’ and keep your wellbeing in check in all aspects of life. Your body and mind need the TLC they deserve, so #TeamCLEO breaks down the what’s and how’s of trending wellness philosophies from around the world to help you lead a fulfilling and mindful life.


Kanso — Simplicity and Clutter-free

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While Zen is one of the best known Japanese philosophies, Kanso which means ‘simplicity’ is one of the aesthetic principles under its umbrella. The concept of Kanso is mainly applied to the interiors of a home whereby furniture and decorations are kept plain and minimal.

So take a good look at your space and remove any unnecessary items that you actually don’t need – even the souvenir magnets you’ve been drowning your fridge with. Kanso isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s also an attitude. Be Kanso with your choices and possessions, and you’ll learn to truly appreciate the simplest things in life.

Ikigai — Finding Purpose

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Over in the South of Japan, researchers of the Okinawa Centenarian Study found Okinawan islanders tend to live longer and have 80% less chances of breast and prostate cancers compared to North Americans. Their secret? Finding their Ikigai – the reason for being or purpose in life.

Achieving Ikigai is commonly interpreted with a Venn diagram with overlapping qualities of ‘what you love’, ‘what you are good at’, ‘what the world needs’, and ‘what you can be paid for’. Find meaning and value not just from your work, but also in the small joys of building supportive friendships or taking an active role in local communities.

Hygge — Cosiness

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Living the Danish way may bring you the happiness in life that you’ve longed for. As defined by VisitDenmark, Hygge is essentially the act of “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”, especially during the colder months.

Happiness for the Danes is the “cosiness” that comes from doing simple communal activities like snuggling up with blankets and watching TV together with loved ones. So stop chasing after the perfect luxe life, instead look deeper into your simple everyday life and get hygge.

Lagom — Contentment

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Just like hygge-loving Denmark, Sweden also sits in the Top 10 Happiest Countries of 2019, and the reason for it could be the Lagom philosophy, a Swedish approach to everything in moderation that is also practised by IKEA.

A Lagom lifestyle surrounds the idea of “not too much and not too little — just right”, so keep everything you do in balance, particularly for your mental wellbeing. Keep your work-life balance in check, spend enough time with family and friends, and take breaks to recharge. Use this approach for your diet too!


Helpful Reads to feed yourself with more info on wellness philisophies:

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

By Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia

Learn the art of simple living and the longevity secrets of Okinawa centenarians.


Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

By Niki Brantmark

Lead a rewarding but responsible life with a healthy balance without making drastic changes or sacrificing what you love.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

By Marie Kondo

We couldn’t leave Marie Kondo’s legendary philosophy out. Master the art of decluttering and reorganising, while reflecting on what truly sparks joy.


*This story is originally published on CLEO Malaysia’s Mar/Apr 2020 print issue.


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