The World Happiness Report is an annual roundup of the happiest people on Earth and what makes them happy. Finland has always been on top of the list and has earned the reputation of having the happiest citizens. The Finns once again took the first spot in the world based on the recently released 2020 World Happiness Report.
But what’s their secret? Some of it is due to how their society is being run, while a major part of it is because of the people’s general outlook and lifestyle. If you want to be happier in life, take it from the Finns and follow these six lessons they live by.
Enjoy the Outdoors Every Day
The Finns love spending time outdoors. With a thousand lakes and 39 national parks as well as having some of the purest lake water and cleanest air in Europe, it’s not a surprise. Getting out to enjoy nature has been natural for the Finns as they have been enjoying their landscape since they were kids.
In Finland, school children get to have 15-minute breaks every hour, and they always spend them outside. There, kids study hard, run around to let off some steam, and then come back feeling refreshed and focused.
Helsinki-based clinical psychologist Dr. Jane Tuomola says that spending time in any green environment boosts emotional well-being. During summers in Finland, families usually go hiking, biking, swimming, or cross-country skiing. They’re basically outside every day. This can be quite helpful in the happiness chart as exercise and sunlight both play essential roles in one’s emotional well-being.
Weekly appointments at saunas are a must in Finland. Every family is given a time slot every week and everyone goes. Sauna is proven to lower the blood pressure and increase your heart rate to a level similar to when you engage in medium-intensity exercise. Aside from protecting us against potential heart disease and stroke, sauna time can also impact our psychological well-being. It doesn’t have to be a sauna, though. Just make sure to incorporate self-care rituals into your weekly routine.
Rest Without Being Guilty About It
In Finland, it’s a big no-no if you don’t take your annual leave. In contrast, only half of the Brits avail of their holiday allowance usually because of the fear of getting behind at work. Tuomola says that it’s not the case for Finland, where they shut down in July and let adults take four weeks off. Tuomola recommends taking your allotted annual leave so you can reset and reflect on life.
Keep On Learning
Finnish schools don’t charge fees, and there are no private universities around. In Finland, education is not a privilege, it’s a right. Regardless of your background, you can achieve big things. Learning skills benefit mental health as you get a sense of purpose with your continued learning. We can’t have their education system, but we can invest in learning.