For the past six years, Finland has scored the highest out of all the countries in the world on the World Happiness Scale. The midsize country located in Scandinavia has the most content population in the world, even with some of its northernmost areas experiencing 52 days straight of darkness in the winter. So, how do they stay so positive with so little sunlight and such a harsh climate?
With a population of around 5.6 million and most citizens living in or around the capital city of Helsinki, Finland is a lot more than originally meets the eye. The country is known for its saunas, Santa villages, and ability to see the Northern Lights. Its proximity to the Arctic allows for a stunning view of one of the world’s most photographed natural phenomena. The snowy landscapes and chilly air make some parts of Finland similar to an accessible version of the North Pole; it even has reindeer! The beautiful scenery and nature are part of why residents enjoy their lives so much. It causes them to look beyond their screens and take note of the environment around them.
So how do citizens stay so positive throughout the year, especially deep in the winter months? Besides taking Vitamin D supplements and exercising to release endorphins, there are a few things that they can do to battle the exhaustion that comes with total darkness. Many residents try to enjoy being inside by catching up on chores, watching cozy movies, and cooking new recipes. While Polar Night blankets the winter, an opposite phenomenon known as the “midnight sun” ensures that the sun is in the sky all day in the summer. While this is great for energizing your mind and getting outside, it can affect the body’s natural sleep cycle. Both phenomena affect the residents of Finland, but as long as they focus on each season and don’t take it for granted, they seem to be letting the changes pass without much difficulty.
Finland is also known as a very safe country, ranking number six on a scale by US News and World Report. The citizens feel protected living in their country, which always has a significant impact on the citizen’s general happiness. It allows for peace of mind and lets residents relax knowing there is no dire threat against them within their country.
Finland is a very successful country because it makes their citizens happy, and when citizens are happy, the entire country is content. And while most countries are not as happy as Finland, there are things that they can do to make themselves such. One of these would be emphasizing the outdoors and working to improve climate change. Also, spreading positivity and the idea of “slowing down” could benefit countries like the U.S., where no one stops and takes a breath of air. We all have a lot to learn about happiness, but for now, we should all ask ourselves this: how can we enjoy our lives in a way that makes us the happiest? Once we answer this and implement these changes in our lives, we are truly accomplishing lasting change.