Finland ranked the happiest country in the world for the 4th year in a row. This is according to the annual World Happiness Report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative for the United Nations. This means that Finland was still the happiest country in 2020, the year of Covid-19.
Finland retaining the prestigious title as happiest country in the world a fourth time is a previously unseen accomplishment.
Appearing already as a sort of constant, Finnish happiness can be attributed to a number of factors, and many Finns credit it to their connection with nature and the outdoors, with over 90% of Finland covered in either forest or water.
People that live in urban areas will probably agree with the statement above. However, that doesn’t mean nature is the only source of happiness. There are numerous factors such as financial stability, safety, entertaining places, and activities where families and friends can have fun and recharge their batteries, etc. According to this article, all the mentioned factors exist in this country and confirm why Finland is the happiest country in the world.
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So why the heck is Finland so happy? According to Visit Finland, the country’s official tourism organization, there are four reasons for its heightened state of happiness.
4 reasons why Finland is the happiest country in the world
Reconnecting with Mother Nature
In Finland, 75% of the land is covered by forest, so nature plays a big part in the Finnish lifestyle. Finland has 40 national parks and with its Everyman’s Rights, anyone living or visiting Finland has the freedom to roam in nature and enjoy outdoor pursuits regardless of who owns or occupies an area. During the summer, Finland is perfect for swimming, hiking, biking and camping, whilst in the winter, visitors can try country skiing and even the new trend of woolsock running.
Finns love to escape busy cities and surround themselves with nature to relax, and it has been scientifically proven that spending just 15 minutes amongst the trees can reduce the feelings of stress.
2. Foraging is a State of Mind
In summer and autumn, Finland is the ideal spot to explore the nearby forests and waters for fresh, wild food. This includes berries, mushrooms, wild herbs and vegetables, and fishing is also a popular year-round activity. Plus, Finland’s burgeoning restaurant scene and use of fresh ingredients and delicious flavors is placing Finland on the gastronomic food map.
Wandering the forests and fields for food may seem like a simple act but foraging can be peaceful, rewarding, educational and fun. It can also offer a therapeutic focus, helping people to slow down and appreciate the surrounding natural world.
3. The Healing Powers of Water
Finland is the land of 188,000 beautiful lakes. For active travelers, there is no better way to explore the beauty and serenity of the Finnish landscape than by paddling across the lakes by canoe or kayak. Adventurers can explore Lake Oulujärvi by steamship or by shore on an Icelandic horse, or travel down to the heart of Finland to experience Lake Saimaa, home to the Saimaa Ringed Seal – one of the rarest and most endangered seals in the world.
In the winter, Finland’s unlikely national pastime of plunging into ice cold water following a sauna or ice swimming is known to energize the body and improve overall happiness and wellbeing.
4. Sauna Serotonins
The only Finnish word to make it into the everyday English language is ‘sauna.’ Finland has 3 million saunas, and it is a ritual that has been performed for thousands of years. The sauna is a beloved way of Finnish life which gathers and connects friends and family of all generations. Plus, Finland’s sauna culture has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the first aspect of Finnish culture to make it onto the prestigious list.
The Finns believe that saunas are great for the mind and boosting happiness. It can also be seen as a meditative space and a place to switch off from the outside world. The best part of the sauna experience is what the Finns fondly refer to as the ‘post-sauna bliss’– the exhilarating feeling of having cleansed the mind and body.
Heading to Finland? You have to check out these activities.
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