The Norwegian Method to Manage Dissatisfaction

We can all feel dissatisfied at certain moments or stages in life, whether it’s in our personal or professional life. To some extent, that discomfort can lead us to make significant changes. However, the problem comes when this dissatisfaction becomes almost chronic and prevents us from enjoying the present.

What can we change? What aspects, beyond our control, should we start to accept?

There’s a Norwegian method that can help us with these questions and allow us to coexist with dissatisfaction without letting it limit our daily lives.

What is ‘koselig,’ the Nordic philosophy that can help you with dissatisfaction?

First came Denmark with ‘Hygge,’ which doesn’t have a literal translation but means something that is ‘good for the soul.’ in fact, Denmark is home to the Happiness Research Institute.

Now, Norway introduces ‘Koselig.’ But what does this oddly pronounced name mean, and how can it benefit you? The concept of Koselig is about embracing winter as it is, without frustration over desiring warmer weather or longer daylight hours. It involves creating a comfortable and cozy space to enjoy winter without anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring or summer. Essentially, it’s a philosophy focused on experiencing and enjoying the present.

Even though this concept was initially designed to cope with the harsh Norwegian winters, it can be applied to any area of your life, no matter where you live, even if your hometown enjoys an eternal summer.

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The principles of Koselig and how they can improve your life

Acceptance: Stop battling with reality

This is the central principle of this Norwegian philosophy. It applies to the weather and suggests that complaining about the cold and the short daylight hours in a country with long and harsh winters is a fruitless battle. Holding onto this perspective will keep you in constant unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Now, we extend this same principle to other areas of life, be it the draining office colleague, a frustrating traffic jam, or even when your city’s climate is the opposite of Norway’s, like enduring the heat. The essence of Koselig’s philosophy encourages you to embrace the present with warmth and acceptance from within.

However, be cautious not to succumb to the pitfalls of toxic positivity and silencing your opinions when facing situations you perceive as unjust. Acceptance strikes a balance: you acknowledge it’s not an ideal situation, change what you can, and embrace what’s beyond your control.

Comparing yourself to others always puts you at a disadvantage

We tend to compare ourselves to others — often to those in different situations with unique life stories and circumstances unrelated to our own. This represents the second principle of this Norwegian philosophy: refrain from comparing yourself to those in significantly milder climates.

Sometimes, it just happens that you may find yourself casually scrolling through Instagram or another social platform and stumble upon what seems like a perfect couple right after a breakup, or you see someone’s travel photos while you’re either at work or home-bound because you just can’t afford travel.

Koselig recommends, instead, that you stay active, do things you enjoy within your current capabilities and accept the things you can’t change. 

It won’t guarantee happiness, but at least on tough days, you’ll learn to live with them without dissatisfaction and bitterness.

Keep moving

This is the last principle of Koselig: keep moving despite the harsh weather outside. Don’t use bad weather, cold or darkness as an excuse to stay inactive. This only leads to isolation – and we humans are social beings.

This principle applies to life in general. Movement is essential for progress and well-being. Even during highly stressful or sad times, staying active helps to shift stagnant or heavy energy. When dealing with dissatisfaction, whether in your personal or professional life, remaining still is not helpful. We mean movement in literal and figurative terms (engaging in physical activities). If you’re unhappy with your work, take action! Attend a networking event, explore a course you’re interested in or ask for a department change. Any form of movement is a positive step!

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