Danes are some of the happiest people in the world, and they also happen to have a lot of cool words for ways to be happy.
Pyt doesn’t have an exact English translation. It’s more a cultural concept about cultivating healthy thoughts to deal with stress. As a native Dane and a psychologist, I think the concepts that underpin the word are applicable to people everywhere.
A way to move on
Pyt is usually expressed as an interjection in reaction to a daily hassle, frustration or mistake. It most closely translates to the English sayings, “Don’t worry about it,” “stuff happens” or “oh, well.”
You might shatter a glass in the kitchen, shrug and say, “pyt.” You might see a parking ticket lodged under your windshield wiper and, just as you become hot with anger, shake your head and murmur, “pyt.”
At its core, it’s about accepting and resetting. It’s used as a reminder to step back and refocus rather than overreact. Instead of assigning blame, it’s a way to to let go and move on.
You might say “pyt” in response to something you did – “pyt, that was a dumb thing to say” – or to support another person – “pyt with that, don’t fret about your coworker’s insensitivity.”
Pyt can reduce stress because it is a sincere attempt to encourage yourself and others to not get bogged down by minor daily frustrations. One Danish business leader has suggested that knowing when to say “pyt” at work can lead to more job satisfaction.
Overcoming the tendency to blame
There’s a rich strain of psychological research devoted to understanding how we interpret and react to other people’s actions.