Futurity

To beat the winter blues, think like a Norwegian

This winter could be especially difficult because of COVID-19, but a researcher who's been studying the "Norwegian mindset" in colder months has a tip.
A man holds a snowball and looks down at it with a smile

You might find inspiration for handling the dark months ahead from Norwegians, according to Kari Leibowitz.

“…people in Norway didn’t see it so much as something to survive—they saw it as an opportunity for lots of things they loved…”

Leibowitz, a PhD candidate in social psychology at Stanford University, has studied how Norwegians cope with winter and “polar nights,” the period beginning on November 21 when the sun sets in Norway and doesn’t rise again for another two months. She spent a year at the University of Tromsø, located 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to better understand how people survive—and actually, thrive—in such extreme and unusual conditions.

She found that people with a positive wintertime mindset—which encompasses their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes toward the season—is positively associated with their wellbeing, including life satisfaction and personal growth.

Leibowitz is researching psychological and social forces in health care, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship. She also works with psychologist Alia Crum in the Stanford Mind & Body Lab, where they study how mindsets can make a positive difference to emotional and physical well-being.

Here, Leibowitz discusses some of her findings—data from her survey of 238 Norwegians recently published in the International Journal of Wellbeing—and how their approach to winter and the indoors might offer comfort during these challenging times:

The post To beat the winter blues, think like a Norwegian appeared first on Futurity.

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