March the 20th is International Day of Happiness. We understand that it may be difficult to feel happy right now, especially with everything that’s going on in the world. So, for international happiness day, we decided to take a lesson from the Happiest Country in the world, Finland.
In The World Happiness Report 2020, which ranks countries by their happiness levels, the UK was ranked 13th in the world with Finland, Denmark and Switzerland taking the top spots. Despite the two hundred days of winter, two months where the sun never rises and harsh temperatures dropping to 20 degrees below zero, Finland takes the top position. So what can we learn from our Finish friends on the art of happiness?
“Time and again we see the reasons for wellbeing include good social support networks, social trust, honest governments, safe environments and healthy lives.”
“Sisu is focused on persevering when the odds are against you and to view challenges as opportunities”. We can’t always choose happiness, but we can choose how we react to what happens. Resilience is a skill that can be learned, how we respond to times of loss, failure, uncertainty and trauma can have a big impact on our well-being, find positive ways to bounce back. ‘Happiness does not come from searching for it, but by living.
“In Finland, this traditional legal concept is called “everyman’s right,” which allows the general public to roam freely in natural areas like forests, lakes, and rivers—and without obtaining permission from landowners when said areas fall on private lands”.
It’s no secret that being out in nature can affect our mood, anxiety and even blood pressure. Spending just 30 minutes outdoors is a great mood buster and can really help to increase your level of happiness. Why not try and go for a walk, spend time in your garden or escape to a local park.
The Finnish love to sweat it out in a sauna with their community. It’s totally normal in Finland to be comfortable being naked in the sauna with family and friends from an early age, it even helps with the acceptance of their bodies. Don’t worry, we’re not encouraging you to jump into the sauna, but we could learn a thing or two about being involved in the community. Whether it’s meeting up with friends, volunteering for a local organisation or helping to fundraise at your community centre. Being involved with your community can give you a sense of belonging and increase your level of happiness.
Don’t get any ideas about calling up your boss or tutors to cut your hours. But getting that work-life balance is key to maintaining and creating happiness. Prioritising your time, making time for yourself and working smarter not harder is just some of the things you can do to get that balance. “In fact, in Finland, employees have the right to shift their workday three hours earlier or later than their employers’ typical requirements”.
“In Sweden, healthcare (including dental!) is essentially free until you turn 20”. Prioritising your health is important, both mental and physical. Stretch those legs and go for a walk, do some exercise and release those endorphins. Prioritise your mental health as well as your physical, take time out for yourself, talk it out and reach out so it doesn’t all become too much. Being in tune with your mental and physical health will help lead to happiness.
“Finns embrace a Nordic minimalism and are known to prefer well-made, sustainable, functional items that will stand the test of time. There is a robust secondhand scene in Finland, too, and on the community-driven “Cleaning Day,” the country turns into one big outdoor flea market”.
There is some meaning behind the phrase ‘Tidy home, tidy mind”. Having a clean space can definitely lift your mood and increase your level of happiness. Clearing your wardrobe and pantry cupboard always feels good for the soul, why not try it out and declutter your life in more ways than one.