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09.21.23 | Sage Advice

Understanding the Japanese Philosophy of Nagomi

Words have the power to evoke profound feelings, emotions and connections. Much like the warmth captured by Hygge, or the humanistic beliefs shared in Ubuntu, there are countless philosophies from across the globe that make life more vibrant for all. Today, we’re diving into an ancient philosophy that embodies everything calm – Nagomi. 

What it means

Nagomi, pronounced “na-go-mi”, is derived from the Japanese verb “nagomu”, which means to calm down or to be comforted. At its heart, Nagomi is all about finding a sense of calm, peace, and tranquility within oneself, and by extension, with the world around. It signifies a harmonious balance between the inner self and the outer environment.

This philosophy emphasizes the importance of feelings over thoughts, promoting the idea that our emotions often harbor deeper truths about our well-being than our minds. For the Japanese, Nagomi is not just a fleeting feeling but an art of living that involves deeply respecting oneself and others and finding serenity even in the presence of chaos.

How you can practice Nagomi 

Much like Hygge’s invitation to enjoy the cozy and comfortable, Nagomi encourages us to cultivate moments of introspection and inner calm in our lives. Here’s a few ways you can incorporate Nagomi into your daily routine:

  • Nature Walks: Japan has always held a deep reverence for nature. Take a quiet walk in nature, in a garden, forest or along the beach. Breathe in the fresh air, observe the colors and textures and let nature’s symphony soothe your soul.
  • Mindful Breathing: Spend a few minutes each day focusing on your breath. Deep, conscious breathing can instantly bring a feeling of calmness and clarity. 
  • Traditional Arts: Engage in traditional Japanese arts like flower arranging or tea ceremonies. These activities require patience and concentration, allowing you to be fully present in the moment. 
  • Minimalist Living: Embrace simplicity in life. Declutter your living spaces and keep only what is truly essential. The external calm will reflect internally. 
  • Connection: Like Ubuntu’s focus on human connection, Nagomi also values the serenity that comes from harmonious relationships. Regularly engage in meaningful conversations and activities with loved ones, cultivating a space of mutual respect and understanding. 

At Sage, we believe that life’s beauty lies in its intricacies. From the vibrant moments of togetherness that Hygge brings to the profound interconnection embodied by Ubuntu, and now, the tranquil harmony of Nagomi, there’s a world of philosophies awaiting to enrich our lives. Embrace them, and find your own path to a vibrant life.

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10.27.20 | Sage Advice

The Danish Philosophy of Hygge

With cold weather upon us, we all love the feeling of a steaming mug of hot cocoa nestled between our hands, or the comfort of a good pair of slippers on a chilly Sunday morning. But nobody knows this love better than the Danish — who have actually coined their own term to help describe it: hygge. And since then, the Danish philosophy of hygge has taken the world by storm.

What’s that?

Hygge is described as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the modern day philosophy is derived from the Sixteenth-century Norwegian term hugga, to comfort or to console. But the word has far transcended its origins to become deeply embedded in Denmark’s national behavior and disposition, inspiring others globally to follow suit.

Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, goes so far as to say hygge is “a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA. In other words, what freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes.”

Hygge has been part of Danish culture since the early 1880s. The contagious philosophy has since spread to the UK in 2016, when several books were published on the topic, making it such a buzzword that it even appeared in the Collins Words of the Year for 2016. From there, hygge made its way to popular US culture, infiltrating the Pinterest-verse and becoming an integral aesthetic to home design (think roaring fireplaces, big knit blankets). 

How to live a hygge life

Hygge, like all things fun and enjoyable, doesn’t have a ton of rules. The word itself can be an adjective or a noun — hyggebukser is a pair of pants you wouldn’t dare wear in public, but adore at home, and hyggekrog describes a cozy seat, such as your favorite recliner or a good reading nook. To introduce hygge into your own life, you simply have to embrace moments of comfort and joy. 

There are lots ofl ways to do this, like surrounding yourself with candles and throw blankets. There are also deliciously indulgent ways to do this, like baking homemade bread, cakes or pies, binging on comfort food and enjoying a hot, buttered rum.  As proponents of vibrant, engaged living, we at Sage Collective believe the best way to embrace the hygge philosophy is amongst good company. Whether it’s a morning jaunt around the neighborhood with a good friend, or a board game played in the living room with loved ones, hygge can be found in the simplest and most pleasurable of moments, if only we learn to look.

A hygge setup of a red pillow, a lit candle, a mug of hot cocoa and a fuzzy blanket nestled in a window seat
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