People in Finland are the happiest in the world, according to the recently published World Happiness Report.
The report ranked 156 countries based on six different categories: freedom, life expectancy, income, generosity and social support.
Not only did Finland top the list, but all four top spots were filled by Nordic countries, with Denmark second, Norway third and Iceland fourth. Despite not making the top four, Sweden wasn’t too far behind, in seventh place, after the Netherlands and Switzerland. Following this, New Zealand, Canada and Austria took spots eight to 10, with the UK ranked as the 15th happiest country.
So why have Nordic countries taken all four of the top spots and five in the top 10? According to Josefin Roth, Brand Manager of Scandinavian lifestyle hospitality brand LivNordic, the balanced and healthy lifestyle enjoyed by the Nordic people is based on four simple principles:
1. Connectivity to Nature
“Despite colder temperatures for most of the year, we Scandinavians possess a deep, abiding love for nature. We show our appreciation for nature all year long by engaging in many activities such as hiking, cycling, sailing and swimming in the summer and cross-country skiing and ice-skating in the winter. The change of the seasons forces us to stay in tune with nature – and due to the contrasts in light, dark, hot and cold – appreciate it even more than other regions.
2. Authentic Community
“A sense of community as well as an understanding of the common good is central to Nordic culture. We believe in cultivating authentic relationships based on equality and trust, two factors which studies show to be key factors of happiness. We also believe in quality over quantity, meaning that work shouldn’t interfere with family time. Many offices and businesses in Sweden close before 5 PM and incorporate a Swedish tradition called ‘Fikapaus’ which is centred on taking a break throughout the day. The concept of Hygge, a feeling of cosy contentment and well-being, is also an important feature of our cultural identity is achieved by enjoying and appreciating the simple pleasures of life.
3. Nordic Wellbeing
“We Scandinavians enjoy being sociable but are also self-aware and value our solitude. We often take time to connect to our inner stillness, which can be anything from taking a walk in the forest to appreciating the small things in life – such as enjoying a cup of coffee or simply taking a few deep breaths in the middle of the day. We believe that quality of life is determined by a person and is not something that can be given or bought. It is simply a way of ‘being’ rather than ‘having’ and anyone can achieve it with the right mindset.
4. Creative Fuel
“In Scandinavia we have strong passion for design, music, art and innovation, and believe that it all comes from an inner, creative spark which every person possesses.
Nurturing this inner spark is something we take very seriously, as we believe it is what makes us thrive, giving us beauty and meaning in life and the ability to express ourselves. For us, our creativity evolves out of how we intuitively, observe the world around us, using all our senses, being connected to our environment and each other.”