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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

The Happiest Country in the World for 5 Years

My Nature

It is official, for five years in a row the country of Finland has won the distinguished award of the “happiest country in the world.”

This survey takes into account 156 countries.

The top 10 counties are: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Israel and New Zealand.

Canada came in at number 15 followed by the USA at 16.

The saddest top 5 countries of the world are: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Botswana.

As you can see from the list, it is certainly not the weather that makes a country happy is it? Take a look at the top 10 happiest – almost, not all, are in the northern hemisphere including a lot of snow, ice and cold.

In Canada we are known for our extensive talk of our weather – there they just take it in stride and learn to enjoy it.

I have done a bit of research into why experts say Finland is so happy. A philosopher and author Frank Martela at a university in Aalto says “It’s more about how a country’s institutions take care of their people – this leads to higher ratings in life satisfaction.”

Frank wrote an article called “3 Things We Never Do” in Finland, here is an excerpt:

1) People in Finland do not compare ourselves to our neighbours. A famous Finnish line by a Poet translated basically states: “Don’t compare or brag about your happiness.” Finnish people take this to heart especially it comes to material things or overt displays of wealth, they do not flaunt their wealth. Success in Finland looks just like everyone else, you would not know who is wealthy and who is not.

2) We don’t overlook the benefits of nature. Employees are entitled to four weeks of summer holiday. Many use the time to hit the countryside and immerse themselves in nature. The fewer amenities, the better. Green spaces are planned into the cities to keep nature close.

3) We don’t break the community circle of trust. Research shows that the higher the levels of trust within a country, the happier its citizens are. They did a lost wallet experiment in various places in the world in 2022. 192 wallets were strategically lost, and 11 of 12 wallets were returned to their owners in the city of Helsinki.

Finnish people tend to trust each other and value honesty and cooperate with each other. If you forget your laptop in the library or lost your phone on the train, you will in all likelihood get it back.

Children play outside without supervision and take the public bus home from school.

Frank asks: Think about how you can show up for your community. How can you create more trust?

Another research paper states that Finnish people enjoy the simple pleasures – clean air, pure water and walking around the woods to the fullest. They exude a peace and calm and have learned to appreciate the little things in life. Life here is laid back and chilled compared to the rush and go of other countries.

People can relax in safety, there are low levels of crime and corruption and there is earned trust between the government and the public. It is a culture that looks out for everybody. In the Nordic countries the people live in balance and harmony (not all work, not all play).

This article says that because people in Finland are entitled to a universal medical and the best universal education, one of the best in Europe, no one needs to be homeless.

The Helsinki Times states that a very famous saying in Finland is: being born in Finland is like winning the jackpot.

Finns know how to use their time effectively. Rain, snow or cold is not an obstacle to going out for a job, or riding a bike. In the summer or warmer months getting back to nature is key.

Finnish people do not worry about the outside world in the same way other nations do, they feel secure and very safe in their country.

The school system in Finland is quickly surpassing many countries of the world, everyone is entitled to universal education. Teachers must have a Masters degree to be qualified to teach in Finland.

The Prime Minister of Finland would be the first to tell you that Finland is not a country without problems, it is not a dreamland, as drug abuse is on the rise, depression is affecting many young people and there is a list of issues. The Prime Minister hit world news when she became the youngest Prime Minister ever in the world at the age of 34.

I wonder what that would be like to again live in a country that has a government that is honest, and looks out for it’s people. For us to not have to worry about safety (stealing, kidnapping, muggings etc), a world where our kids could actually play outside unaccompanied. Wow, a country that has very little homeless people and even a country where finding a Dr or going to the hospital does not result in hours of frustration – if they even have drs. (The past year we get reports as to which hospital emergency rooms are unstaffed with Dr’s and are told to go to other facilities). A place where people can count on people to be there for them, where they look after each other, not simply compare themselves with each other.

What Finland has that perhaps has been lost in so many other countries of the world is belief in each other, they have not lost their faith in people, or their belief in their government and they know that together they can overcome all the odds.

And it looks like this country of Finland is again plugging in at #1 of all the happiest people in the world are “Living it out!”

Take time to appreciate Canada's sunrises and the sunsets - gorgeous!

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