Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Feeling stressed? It’s time to embrace the “susegad” approach to life


By crazystocker | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/15/19

Forget the Danish "hygge" lifestyle, try the "quiet life" from this predominantly Catholic country.

Over the last few years we’ve heard a lot about the hygge way of living — the creation of a cozy content feeling — championed by the Danes. While this convivial way of living is very appealing, there’s another concept that comes from further afield in the Indian state of Goa, and it seems perfect for those who need reminding about what’s truly important in life.

The notion of susegad stems from the Portuguese word, sossegado, which means “quiet.” It doesn’t literally mean that you live in total silence; it’s more the “innate realization that you cannot and should not fight the small things of life,” according to Perry Goes, a Goan interviewed for the BBC.

If you adopt this approach to life you’ll have greater peace of mind while soaking up the beauty of what life has to offer. As Goan journalist Joanna Lobo shared: “It’s a Sunday spent with the family, relaxing after a filling lunch of rice, fish and vegetables … It’s that feeling of relaxation, of feeling content with life, of being loved.”

Some people have misunderstood the true meaning of susegad, believing it to be a laid-back approach to life that is synonymous with laziness — maybe because Goans take the afternoon, between 1 and 5 p.m., to stop work and relax due to the high temperatures before life picks up in the evening. Yet, as Lobo is keen to highlight, “It is not sloth or laziness. It is deciding on what to fight for and what to give up on, and having the sense to decide between the two.”

Perhaps part of this attitude stems from the state’s rich Portuguese Catholic influence. With Jesuits landing in the idyllic, beachy spot in 1510, the majority of inhabitants not only adopted the Catholic faith, but the Portuguese language and culture. While the regular siesta was a must in a state that sees temperatures regularly climb into the 90 plus degrees Fahrenheit mark, the susegad was more of an extension of this practice to find a perfect work-life balance and ultimately contentment.

Now home to 1.5 million inhabitants — 85% Christian, predominantly Catholic, and the remaining 15% Hindu — the flourishing island sees communities bond together, helping each other out, with no sense of one-upmanship. It seems that it’s all part of the susegad experience.

Of course it might be tricky to carve out a four-hour break in your day, but perhaps you could start by letting go of all those small irritations life throws at you. Does your home truly have to be spic and span before you have guests visit? If you’re exhausted, take time out to breathe and pray, and appreciate what’s really important in your life.

Woman Reading

Read more:
Why “nesting” and “hygge” are more than just trends


Read more:
5 Things to learn from the world’s happiest people

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.