It's no surprise that Scandinavians are some of the happiest people on earth - with their fair share of a sparkling welfare state, universal healthcare and low crime rates - they seem to have it all figured out.
You may think with 200 days of winter and temperatures that consistently drop below -10°, Finland would be at the bottom of people's lists when in pursuit of happiness. But, out of 149 countries, for the fourth year on the trot, Finland has been voted the number one Happiest Country in the world by the World Happiness Report. The report looks at aspects of life such as gross domestic product (GDP), healthy life expectancy and corruption. As a humble inhabitant of the UK, it got me questioning, what is their secret?
The Scandinavian way of life has become quite the commodity over the past few years when it comes to books, fashion and interiors - everyone wants a slice of it. Sisu, the Finnish word for inner strength, is slowly becoming a part of western dialect and is a big reason why Finland is topping those leaderboards. As a country, they support their citizens, their healthcare system is second to none and university is free, so people can pursue their passion with no monetary limits. They believe in helping their citizens into jobs they actually want to do, so when it comes to paying those exponential taxes, they don’t mind. Also, having a female millennial Prime Minister in the form of Sanna Marin bodes well in their favour too, instead of having some rich, old white guy.
Another thing that can’t be denied about Finland is that it is utterly beautiful. Everyone in Finland has the freedom to roam and is in fact encouraged by the government to do so. With 75% of Finland’s landmass being forests, many Finns take to the wilderness in pursuit of a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A study from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health showed that even people who spent 2 hours a week in nature were more likely to have better overall mental and physical health. Showing that it is not just the government that makes the country great, it's the landscape too!
I think Finland has put forward quite the argument as to why they justify holding the crown as Happiest Country in the World for yet another year. The last thing to ask is, when are you booking your flight?