6 Philosophies From Around the World That Will Change Your Life

As we enter a new year, everyone is focused on getting fit in 2015. And while physical well-being is important, it’s not the only area for improvement in our lives. At times, our attitudes and outlooks on life also need a bit of a makeover. Adopting a new perspective isn’t always simple, so to help you on your journey, here are some philosophies popular in other countries that may just help you change your life. 

Pura Vida (Costa Rica)


Arenal volcano at dusk. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Pura vida can be translated into English as “pure life,” but its true definition is much harder to grasp. The saying has a profound meaning for locals and is ingrained in the Costa Rican culture. Today, the phrase can be used as a greeting, a farewell, or to express how you’re feeling. It’s truly a way a life, a way of accepting that your life situation, regardless of how difficult, isn’t really that bad.

Related: Watching Baby Turtles Hatch and Other Attractions Along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Friluftsliv (Norway)


Trolltunga cliff in the summer (Photo: Thinkstock)

If you’re sick of living your life indoors, typing away at a computer, then this Norwegian phrase will give you the inspiration to make a change. Friluftsliv translates as “free air life” and expresses the concept that being outdoors is beneficial for your mental and physical health. The best part is that it’s easy to do; all you have to do it get outside! Go for a walk, a hike, or a bike ride. Try taking a yoga class al fresco or walk around your favorite park and snap photos. Whatever you do, do it while breathing fresh air.

Hygge (Denmark)

Enjoy those simple moment with those you love. (Photo: Thinkstock)

You know that cozy feeling you get when you’re snuggled up in your favorite pajamas, sipping on hot cocoa, while surrounded by people you love? It’s comfortable, it’s home … but there isn’t one word to describe that feeling, until now. Hygge is a Danish word that loosely translates into “cozy,” but not necessarily in the physical sense. Instead, hygge is a mental state consisting of the feeling of soothing candlelight, the love of family, nourishing food, and relaxing conversation. So ignore the gloomy weather outside and have a hygge day focusing on the love and warmth happening inside of your home.

Wabi-Sabi (Japan)

Focus on what you love when you look in the mirror. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.” Not only is this quote true, it also perfectly summarizes the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, which essentially means to “embrace the imperfect.” This concept focuses on asymmetry, irregularity, and the appreciation of natural objects. As you voyage through the new year, instead of making resolutions focusing on all the things that you don’t like about yourself, take a moment to embrace your imperfections and the beautiful and unique creature you are.

Tri Hita Karana (Bali)

Locals in Bali believe that harmony among people is important. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Living a life of balance might just be the recipe to happiness. That’s why Tri Hita Karana is a traditional philosophy practiced by the people of Bali. It translates to “three causes of well-being” and details the three things that every person needs for a balance in life: harmony among people, harmony with God, and harmony with nature. Even if you’re not religious, this concept expresses the importance of being kind to others and being kind to the earth. That’s always a good thing in our book. 

Related: Eat, Pray, Wait: The Impatient Person’s Guide to Bali

Fernweh (Germany)

Always dreamed of visiting the Mediterranean? Do it this year. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Some people long to see the world but struggle with the means or initiative to actually take the trip. If this is you, Fernweh might be a phrase to push you in the right direction this year. Fernweh translates from German as “far-sickness,” which is the opposite of homesickness. You might be familiar with the word wanderlust, but this is so much more. Fernweh is a strong desire to travel; it’s a longing for far-off places, an urge to experience things you’ve never seen. If you’ve been longing to experience a different culture or country, give in to the fernweh and book that ticket now. What are you waiting for?   

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