Is nunchi the new hygge? What you need to know

-Nov 12, Hannah Hargrave , Living -

Move over hygge and make way Marie Kondo, because there’s another wellness concept in town and it’s called ‘nunchi’.

The Danish lifestyle concept of hygge had us all cosied up with candles, embracing winter nights and home comforts. Then Marie Kondo introduced us to the ultimate decluttering of our homes and minds, and now the ancient Korean concept of ‘nunchi’ is taking the world by storm. But what exactly is it and what can it do for you?

Related: How to Marie Kondo your beauty and wellness routine during autumn and winter weekends away

What is nunchi?

Ninchi – pronounced ‘noon-chi’ – is essentially the Korean pratice of situational awareness and understanding what others are feeling and thinking. It sounds so simple and something we should be doing naturally in everyday life and yet now, more than ever, our own hectic lifestyles probably dilute our observation skills of others.

In Korea though nunchi is taught from an early age when children are encouraged to be more observant of social situations, their environments and what the behaviour of others might mean.

The word is loosely translated to mean “eye measure” so you take stock of everyone; who interrupts, who is silent, who attacks or who constantly apologises.  

Quick nunchi, rather than good nunchi is the phrase Koreans use because the faster you can suss out the cues, heirachy and overall situation the more successfully you can navigate it.

Author Euny Hong’s writes in her book The Power of Nunchi: The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success, that; “At a very basic level, people will be happier to be around you if you have quick nunchi.”

This is because she says you will be a better negotiator and rather than leap in, you will read the room carefully. You essentially observe more than you talk. 

Related: The signs your friend could be secretly suffering with anxiety

How nunchi can help introverts

Nunchi can be for everyone but if you suffer from social anxiety or are more naturally an introvert nunchi could really work for you. It’s a far softer and subtle approach, but powerful none the less and one which can make you feel more comfortably in your own skin too. 

How to learn nunchi

The ability to truly read somebody and a situation doesn’t come overnight. It takes practice, which is likely why Korean’s start their children on the philosophy from the age of three. You can still learn to better relate to others and look at life more profoundly no matter your age though. 

There are books like Euny’s, podcasts and websites to help guide you towards quick nunchi but she adds: “All you need are your eyes and your ears. And, this is the hard part, a quiet mind.”

If you’re looking for ways to slow down and take a little more stock of life you might also like to read what Maude Hirst told Lumity about yoga and meditation turning her life around and also why the practices could be the secret to inner calm and happiness.

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