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6 things people do differently in the world’s happiest country Finland


When it comes to happiness, it is well known that Nordic countries regularly score high in life satisfaction surveys. In fact, Finland has grabbed the top spot world happiness report list of happiest countries for five years in a row – even as the country deals with cold weather, long winters and little daylight for part of the year in some parts of the country. (For reference, the UK ranks 17th on the World Happiness Report list and the USA is 16th.)


According to mental health experts, even when these things go against the country, Finns talk about their life satisfaction for a myriad of reasons.

A large part of this is because Finland has systems in place that make aspects of life less stressful – education is largely free, work hours are plentiful and health care coverage is guaranteed. Plus, the country is much smaller than the US (the population is less than the population of New York City), which also makes things easier.

However, beyond these systems, Finnish people have certain habits and beliefs that help them regularly top the World Happiness Report lists. Below, Finnish mental health experts share why they think people in the country are happier and how you can use some of the country’s tools for happiness, too.

less inclined to lie about feelings


In America (and many countries, for that matter) “How are you?” “Good” or “OK” is expected. Giving too much detail to your struggle is uncomfortable for some and uncomfortable for others.

In Finland, however, compulsory positivism is very rare. “It is more tolerant of saying, ‘It is not well’ or ‘I am not feeling well’,” said Marie Larivara, director of strategic affairs at MIELI Mental Health Finland.

Larivara said this is an observation based on time spent in the US and Finland overall. But this emotional honesty may be part of what contributes to Finland’s overall happiness.


Overall, we know it’s not a good idea to bottle up your feelings. You’ll feel overwhelmed, misunderstood, and even a little trapped. some studies say Holding back emotions can also take away from social engagement and is linked to early death,

work-life balance on the basis of priority

While people in Finland work hard, their working hours are largely reasonable, meaning that most people have a good work-life balance.


“It gives you time to ease into your everyday life (and) gives you time to take care of yourself,” Larivara said.

Finally, there is time to do activities other than work, said Mirka Hintsenen, a professor of psychology at the University of Oulu.

Juho Saari, Dean of Faculty at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere, said that most people do not have a long way to work, which also links their level of happiness with work and the amount of free time they have. Day.

He has great access to nature.

The three experts talked about the important role nature plays in the lives and happiness of many people in Finland.

In fact, the rules of the country are known as right of all, which allows people in Finland to respectfully use almost every forest, lake and seaside area for free, Saari said. This means activities such as camping, berry picking, mushroom picking, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and skiing are free in these public spaces.

Hintsanen said that in Finland you are always close to nature, whether you live in one of the big cities or the smaller ones. “There is nature everywhere,” she said.

,studies are That nature actually reduces stress and it’s also linked to happiness — (when) you have less stress, it’s easier to be happy,” Hintsenen said. So, a walk in a nearby park can help you channel this Finnish happiness tip.

Learning new skills is encouraged

“we really eager to develop myself,” Larivara said, and “learning new things is good for your mental health.” She added that this doesn’t mean learning a new language or doing a job for work, it’s more It can be as simple as trying a new recipe or taking a class on how to sail a ship.

Saari said Finland has a large number of associations where people can do hobbies together — everything from yoga to pottery classes. He said that joining these associations is cheap and it gives people an opportunity to learn new things.

Plus, learning new things helps make time feel more fulfilling. When you step out of your daily routine and look back at your month or year, time will feel longer, and you’ll feel like you made the most of your days, says Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. first told HuffPost,

Cavan Images via Getty Images

Learning new skills – for fun, not for work – is a part of the culture in Finland.

it’s a very trusting society

According to Saari, the level of trust among people in Finland is very high.

“It’s a small country, people build networks among different people and this is called ‘the power of weak ties’,” he said.

As mentioned above, the US is much larger than Finland, which makes it harder to trust across the board in the US, but you can still surround yourself with a trustworthy circle of people.

Investment in your social relationships plays a big role in happiness, Sari said.

“There’s a lot of research[that says]getting rid of loneliness is one of the most important things” when it comes to feeling content, he said. In fact, a Found in 2021 study noted that “loneliness has been shown to be one of the strongest negative predictors of life satisfaction”—and that close relationships with others are essential to a fulfilling life.

To add to your overall sense of content, spend time with friends and family who fill up your cup. Cherish those relationships, check those out, and continue to build on the bonds you have.

In Finland, people experience a sense of contentment rather than extreme happiness.

“If you go more toward the emotional experience of happiness, I think culturally in Finland happiness doesn’t mean a very intense feeling of happiness,” Larivaara said. “Our concept is more like a continuous feeling of (a) to be satisfied with your life” and what have you.

It’s a calming feeling, Larivara explained. “So, maybe it’s easy to be happy that way if you look for intense feelings and intense experiences of happiness all the time,” she said.

Saari agreed, saying that Finnish people have a high level of life satisfaction. “(In) World Happiness Report, they don’t really ask if people are happy, they ask if they are satisfied with their lives.

Instead of looking for excitement, you can try looking for things in your life that make you feel satisfied — like a cup of good coffee or your trusty car that never breaks down — and try to hold onto those feelings. Do (and look for other happy reminders) throughout your day.

But, it’s also important to remember that external factors affect happiness as well.

“I think in Western culture, we often talk about happiness, that it’s the individual’s responsibility to live their life in such a way that you can be happy,” Hintsenen said. “We have the illusion that if you do everything right, you’re happy, and it’s only your responsibility.”

There is some truth in this, she said, but it is not only a person who controls their happiness – it is also their surroundings, life circumstances and decisions in society.

Meaning, for example, if you’re a teacher and your local district cuts all teachers’ pay, your happiness is likely to take a hit. But the decision to cut salary was beyond your control. So, it’s equally important to try and do those things affects your moodIt’s not just up to you.

“We can’t make it just one person’s responsibility, and I think it’s good for everyone to remember that, too. There are other things than just (the) person,” Hintson said.

(translated to tagged) wellbeing


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