How do you describe how you feel in one word?

The language of 2020

2020 has brought into our vocabulary phrases that we would never have imagined a mere year ago. ‘Social distancing’, ‘where did you get your mask?’ “ shall we just zoom? and of course ‘in these unprecedented times’.

Why feelings and emotions matter to our brain health

As Marc Brackett PhD tells us in his book Permission to Feel, “Labelling emotions accurately increases self awareness and helps us to communicate emotions and therefore aids social interactions and relationships”. 

Whilst there may not be a single word or phrase to sum up all that this year has brought us, there are many countries that have their own way of describing ways of living or groups of feelings that we might be aspiring to as a new year looms.

Purpose

Ikigai was not just a hugely successful book but is the description of the Japanese way of being that prioritises having a sense of purpose with other aspects of healthy lives

Hygge describes the Danish concept of living cosily and mindfully, enjoying life’s simple pleasures

International Language of everything

The Positive Lexicography project, compiled by Dr Tim Lomas, looks at these international untranslatable concepts in more detail. 

Our favourites include

Sisu-Finnish- describes a psychological strength that helps people deal with challenges

Heimat– German- deep rooted fondness towards a place which one feels a sense of belonging 

Dadirri- Australian aboriginal- a deep spiritual act of reflective and respectful listening 

Currently we may be engaging in Koselig – essentially coziness and craving comfort – we can look ahead to the date next year when we can relax in Utepils ( Norwegian, a beer that is enjoyed outside on the first hot day of the year) 

Perhaps we might be able to indulge in Gigil ( the irresistible urge to squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished, also known as an untranslatable word for pure joy) 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell