Psychology expert shares the 2,000-year-old Korean mindset that can help you live a ‘happier life'

Psychologist Dr. Jihee Cho reveals a 2,000-year-old Korean mindset that can help boost feelings of belonging and happiness in life.

Psychology expert shares the 2,000-year-old Korean mindset that can help you live a ‘happier life'

Since over 2,000 year, "Jeong" has been a part of Korean society and culture. It is a deep feeling of attachment that can occur between people, objects, or places.

Jeong is a result of shared experiences. It's based on the idea that we have a collective responsibility to each other. You want to protect someone when you feel jeong.

All of us crave love and connection. We can miss opportunities to jeong when we're so focused on the daily grind and the rigid boundaries that govern our relationships.

As a

Korean psychologist

I introduce jeong to my patients in order to create a sense of community. Here's how practicing it every day can make you happier:

Spend regular time with your loved ones.

Schedule monthly, weekly, or even daily catch ups with friends and family. Protecting that time is important, whether you're casually sharing a meal with your family, engaging in deeper conversations or going on a stroll.

Quality time spent in person can nourish relationships like no other. We can reconnect, exchange experiences, help each other and feel a sense belonging.

Offer support and help.

Find ways to help others in your local community. Then, give freely and generously out of a genuine place of care.

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You could give rides, even if they are slightly out of the way, prepare and deliver meals, help with household repairs and errands, listen without judgement, or share your wisdom and expertise.

Share meaningful experiences with others.

Teamwork and common interests can bring people together to create memories and share experiences.

You can host a potluck where each person brings a dish reflecting their cultural background. Or you could learn a language with a buddy or take part in traditions that mean a lot to your family.

Engage your community and expand.

Introduce yourself warmly to new members of your groups and circles. Send a homemade gift to your neighbors. You can also join a group that shares your interests such as a parent group or a church.

Include, welcome and make newcomers feel included.

  1. Embrace vulnerability.

It's crucial to be authentic and open in your jeong interactions. Share your feelings, thoughts and experiences even if you feel vulnerable or uncertain.

We can gain a better understanding of ourselves, and others, when we let go of our fear.

Listen and be present.

Jeong stresses the importance of being present and paying attention in the moment. To do this, simply put aside distractions and listen actively to what other people have to say.

Ask your friend these questions the next time you have lunch.

How are you?

You can also find out more about the following:


Many of us just want to be heard.

Dr. Jihee Cho

She is a New York based psychologist. She received her PhD from Fordham University. She works with people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and trauma. She is a cofounder of

Mind in Motion

Psychological services

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