February 5, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Finland: what the citizens of the country (not) do to be happy

Finns have been considered the happiest people on the planet for the last 5 years.

According to article cnbc.com in a 2022 survey, citizens from 156 countries were asked to “rate their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being chosen to represent the worst possible quality of life.” The focus was on factors such as social well-being, life expectancy index, generosity and lack of corruption.

Psychologist Frank Martella explains what Finns don’t do in order not to lose their happiness and say they are satisfied with their lives. The expert also gives some advice to those who live in other countries.

1. They never compare themselves to others.

A Finnish poet has a popular phrase: “Don’t compare your happiness and don’t brag about it.” The Finns seem to have lived up to this phrase and do not flaunt their wealth and material possessions. Mr. Martella characteristically describes: “One day I met one of the richest Finns. He was trying to lift a pram into a tram car.” He went on to say that he could easily buy an expensive car or even hire a driver, but he chooses public transport to get to work. He explained that success in Finland is precisely about standing out from the crowd.
Happiness Tip: Focus more on what makes you happy and joyful and less on what makes you successful. The first step to true happiness is to set your own standards instead of comparing yourself to others.

2. They don’t lose touch with nature.

Continuing, the Finnish psychologist reported that, “According to a 2021 survey, 87% of Finns believe that nature is important to them because it gives them peace, energy and relaxation.” In Finland workers are entitled to four weeks of summer vacation. Most people use this time to go on country trips and be in nature. He adds that “the fewer amenities, down to the lack of electricity and running water, the better.”

Tip for happiness: time spent in nature increases our vitality and well-beingwhile giving us a sense of personal growth. It’s important that people include live plants in their surroundings, even if it’s just a few potted plants.

3. They demonstrate trust in the community

Research shows that the higher the level of trust in a country, the happier its citizens. Mr. Martella mentioned a specific experiment done in 2022 with a lost wallet. 192 wallets were scattered across 16 cities around the world to measure the degree of trust (consciousness) of citizens. The “returns” in the city of Helsinki are impressive: 11 out of 12 wallets were returned to their owner.” Finns tend to trust each other and value honesty. If you forget your laptop in the library or lose your mobile phone on the train, you can almost be sure that it will be returned to you. “Trust, in fact, is built from a very early age, as children often use public transport to get home from school, often playing without supervision,” says the psychologist.

Happiness tip: think about how you can gain more trust, win over others. Small actions, such as giving up your seat on a vehicle to someone else, can make all the difference.

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