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Wonderful Emotions You Never Realized You Had


When it comes to positive emotions, we can learn from other cultures. After all, “language shapes thought and experience,” writes psychologist Tim Lomas, PhD, a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London in England. So he’s set out on a worldwide quest for “untranslatable” words in different languages that describe positive experiences and emotions. Examples…

Gökotta: Swedish for waking up early to listen to bird song.

Iktsuarpok: Inuit for the anticipation felt when waiting for someone and checking to see if he or she has arrived.

Gigil: Philippine Tagalog for the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because you love him or her so much.

Mudita: Sanskrit for reveling in someone else’s joy.

Hirgun: Hebrew for saying nice things to someone simply to make him feel good.

Baraka: Arabic for the gift of spiritual energy that can be passed from one person to another.

Wú Wéi: Chinese for “do nothing” but meaning that one’s actions are entirely natural and effortless.

Schnapsidee: German for coming up with an “ingenious plan” when drunk.

Mbukimvuki: Bantu for “to shuck off one’s clothes in order to dance.”

Vacilando: Spanish for the idea of wandering, where the act of travelling is more important than the destination.

Gumusservi: Turkish for the glimmer that moonlight makes on water.

Dr. Lomas’s quest for a truly international database of words that describe good feelings has just begun. It’s a work in progress. Got a new word he should know about? Post it on his website. And do us a favor—leave it below in the comments section, too. That would make us happy, in an untranslatable kind of way.

Source: Article titled “Towards a positive cross-cultural lexicography: Enriching our emotional landscape through 216 ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to well-being” by Tim Lomas, PhD, lecturer in positive psychology, School of Psychology, University of East London, United Kingdom, published in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Date: February 25, 2016 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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