There is no reason to forget what makes us happy—especially on March 20, which is the United Nations’ annual International Day of Happiness. This day has been marked since 2013 as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. The UN issued its annual World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 countries around the world.
For the third year in a row, Finland was named the happiest country in the world.
So what makes the Finns so happy—and what can we learn from them during this time of global turmoil caused by an outbreak of coronavirus?
Also what makes Finland home to the happiest people on earth, These are lessons that anyone around the world can integrate into their own lives during normal times or if you’re staying at home and sheltering in place due to coronavirus.
If you ask a Finn, what makes us happy, one of the answers is nature. Finns like to put on a pair of rubber boots, head to the woods to slow down and calm our mind. About 70 per cent of our country is covered by forest and travellers fall in love with Finland’s clean air, serenity and silence. Now, however, is not the time to travel, but rather focus on the health and well being of oneself and those around us.
Visit Finland would like to share some simple tips on how to find your calm at home – the Finnish way – while you dream about your next adventure.
TIP 1 – Start your day with a cold shower
(instead of a dip in a lake or the sea)
The Finns love winter swimming as much as they love the sauna. The secret of plunging into icy water lies in the feeling that surges through your body once you get out of the water – as soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up and makes you feel happy. Your body is producing
the mood-balancing hormone serotonin with dopamine, and stress starts to melt away. The easiest way to do this at home is to take an ice-cold shower for a couple of minutes. If you do it in the morning, your day couldn’t ask for a more refreshing way to start your day. Dive into your inner Finnish mentality “Sisu”, and just do it! You can alternate cold and warm showers to get a “sauna” feeling, and your blood circulating even better.
Learn more about Finnish mentality Sisu here:
Learn more about winter swimming:
TIP 2 – Make sense of the world by reading
(instead of visiting a library)
Books are close to the Finns’ hearts. There are many libraries in Finland with Helsinki’s Oodi being the newest library to open in 2019 and was awarded the best public library in the world the same year*. In 2016 the United Nations named Finland the world’s most literate nation, and Finns love books—as well as public libraries. In fact, Helsinki’s new Oodi library was awarded the best public library in the world in 2019. “We are 5.5 million people, and we borrow close to 68 million books a year,” But if you can’t get to a library, no matter. Reading a book at home or online will have the same impact on your mental health and happiness. “Above all, reading (any) book is surely more relaxing than surfing social media,”.
Want to really get into the Finnish spirit? Check out the Moomins, which are white, hippo-like characters created by the writer and artist Tove Jansson in the 1940s. “Today the Moomins are part of the Finnish identity, inspiring generations over and over from children to adults,”.
Tip 3 – Experience a relaxing forest path on your sofa
(instead of walk in an actual forest)
There is something magical about the forest and the Finnish soul has always been linked with it. The green color is calming; the gentle rustling of the leaves and pine needles is like music. Finns feel good in the forest. The forest roots us and helps us remember who we are and where we come from. In the forest we
don’t feel being alone or even lost – the forest provides protection and peace for us.
It has been scientifically proven that only 15 minutes in the forest calms your pulse and your body starts to rest; what a wonderfully simple cure for stress! So, please close your eyes, stretch yourself on the sofa, and have an imaginary sound trip to the Finnish forest. You can experience the relaxing sounds of Finnish Lapland by listening to Scapes album on
More about therapeutically effects of forests:
TIP 4 – Make a world better (and tastier) place by baking a Cinnamon bun
(instead of a visiting a Finnish café serving them)
Finns are obsessed with a local cinnamon bun treat called korvapuusti, which means “slapped ears” in English. The difference in Finland: They are made a dash of cardamom. “For Finns, it’s the highlight of the day, and we definitely don’t count the calories,”. “Cinnamon buns are the perfect comfort food as well, and baked at home they bring a cozy smell to the kitchen as in our childhood days, when we ate them with a glass of milk.”
Grown-up Finns love korvapuusti paired with coffee, and in fact, it is such a national treasure that there is a special word for it: pullakahvit, which literally means “bun coffee.” This is often enjoyed at a cafe, but at the moment, “Finns are doing with virtual pullakahvi pauses,”.
Want to make Finish korvapuusti at home? You can find a recipe here.
TIP 5 – Enjoy art online
Finland’s contemporary art scene embraces everything from experimental artist-run initiatives and commercial galleries to flagship art institutions. There are more than 55 art museums, and numerous art galleries packed into our cities. Finland is a country of extremes and contrasts and along with the Finns’ close relationship with nature are the main sources of inspiration for Finnish Art.
Another hallmark of Finland is its rich art scene, which ranges from experimental artist-run initiatives to commercial galleries to flagship art institutions. The country is home to more than 55 art museums, and much of the art in the country is inspired by the Finns’ close relationship with nature. The Finns also use art to “calm the mind and transport their thoughts to stress-free, comforting places.”.
Take a virtual trip from your own sofa to the Finnish museums to understand how art is a tool for happiness. One place to check out is the new Amos Rex museum, which won the prestigious LCD (Leading Culture Destination) Award for New Cultural Destination of the Year – Europe. You can take a virtual tour of the museum’s new Generation 2020 exhibition in its Instagram Stories.
For something more classic, there’s the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, which includes more than 450 works by the famous Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Take a virtual tour of the Ateneum, and you’ll be feeling the calm Finnish vibes in no time flat.You can discover Lapland, head to Rovaniemi Art Museum located in the Arctic Circletoo. Their main focus is on Finnish Contemporary Art and Northern Art. https://cumulus.rovaniemi.fi/rovtaide/