08 Sep Episode 70 Happy Healthy Living in Finland
Happy Healthy Living
They way Scandinavians live their life is admirable. They embrace some of the simple things in life and make them important. Take for example Fika by the Swedes. Fika means a coffee and a cake; a moment to reflect, enjoy and relax.
When I was in Finland I remembered how nice it was to just be and enjoy these little things in life. Having a coffee and cake gathered around the table and talking to your love ones. You do not need much more than that to be content and enjoy life, right? A Happy Healthy Life the Scandinavian Way does exist and there is evidence on what this is.
Finland has been described as being home to the happiest people on the planet. Finns shine away from this definition as they feel they are not the happiest of people. Finns do not smile a lot and Finland is cold and dark for much of the year. Yes, there are these things but what Finns have forgotten is that it might be dark and people might feel gloomy but the society works.
The happiness is not just about your bus arriving on time. It is about feeling secure in your life, trusting the government and the system running the country. The happiness report does state that people who are more content with their life are more likely to spend money on other people. They are more likely to give to other people.
“For instance, holding the door open for a stranger, paying someone a compliment, caring for a sick relative, comforting a spouse, or returning a lost wallet are all small but meaningful forms of generous action.”
World Happiness Report 2019
These random acts of kindness are more likely to come from people who are happy and content and has the impact of increasing the happiness people feel, creating a virtuous cycle.
Freedom of Choice
If you get sick you go to the doctors. In Finland there is universal healthcare which means you get the same level of treatment and care no matter where you are. This is something to be happy about however Finns see this as a given, not a privilege. Once you have lived overseas you understand how lucky and happy and you should be to be living in Finland. In Finland you have a freedom of choice on things that people do not consciously think about.
Education, Freedom and Lack of Corruption
Education system is first class in Finland. Everyone hails it as the best but the Finns see too many changes, too many reforms, and believe that teachers are overworked and are not appreciated anymore. These all might be the case however, even with these faults, the Finnish education system is much better than many other people ever get to put their kids through. Check out episode 48 comparing the Finnish school system versus the Australian system.
A Happy Healthy Life in all the Nordic Countries
Yes all the Nordic countries were in the top 10. Do you wonder why? Well, the Danes are content with their Hygge and have the smallest wealth gap in the world; Norway has an amazing social welfare/support system and no corruption; Iceland boasts the most equality driven society being the first country in the world to enforce equal pay for women and men (Go and check out my Episode 66 All Things Iceland where I talk about this), and; Sweden has a high life expectancy and fabulous social support.
How Can I have a Piece of Nordic Life?
There has been a widespread recent upward trend in negative affect, comprising worry, sadness and anger in Asia and Africa. This negativity has been affecting truly global countries such as the US, making them less happy place to live.
“Social happiness is therefore even more relevant, in order to give a positive perspective and outlook for the present and for the future.”
Andrea Illy, World Happiness Report
Just through random act of kindness and spreading good will and happiness to other people is a great way to start. The purest joys in life come from being grateful and showing it to the world. You can check out Episode 60 Scandinavian Minimalism where I talk more about small steps you can take in different parts of your life to create piece of Scandinavian living and deliver some Nordic Happiness to your life.
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