3 Lessons from Finland, the Happiest Country in the World
Finland has long been renowned as being the happiest country in the world. They have earned the title for many consecutive years accounting to World Population Review - Happiest Countries in the World 2023.
With 5.5 million people, this is no small feat. According to polls, citizens were happiest due to “strong feelings of communal support and mutual trust” and they “were free to make their own choices, and showed minimal suspicion of government corruption.”
With the United States ranking #19 on the happiest country list, it is safe to say there are some lessons we could learn from our Nordic friends. Here are a few of our favorite things about Finland that help them live peaceful and harmonious lives.
1. A Humble and Equal Society
In the age of social media, it is harder than ever to not compare yourself to other people. We are constantly bombarded with tiny glimpses into the lifestyles and accumulation of the people on our feeds and in our neighborhoods. It can become overwhelming and detrimental to our mental health.
The Finnish ensure a different social perception by working to maintain an equality in their society. With governmental programs offering genuine support, it is not uncommon to see a wide range of socioeconomic classes living in the same general area.
This effort to equalize society helps citizens refrain from unnecessary comparisons and categorizations that can divide a community. Such comparisons serve no noble purpose, so the institutional assistance in maintaining this structure has been very beneficial to the citizens of Finland.
Finnish citizens do not often measure themselves against one another based on wealth, possessions, or status. They are a country filled with humble people and that trickles into every facet of their communities, leaving them happier and more content with their own lives.
2. An Appreciation of Nature
Another huge contributor to the happiness of Finland is their continuous efforts to prioritize preservation of nature and their relationship with it. Over 80% of the country is covered in forests, rivers, lakes, and other natural landscapes. It is Europe’s most forested country with more than 40 national parks.
Finland has even instituted a law, known as “Everyman’s Right,” that grants access to nature for all of its citizens and even foreigners visiting the country. This law not only encourages a relationship with nature, it gives all Finnish people the right to roam and explore freely given they take care to preserve the sanctity of their natural surroundings.
This alignment with nature and freedom to explore and engage with it surely contributes to the Finns overall sense of balance and well-being.
3. Community Trust
The trust within Finland’s community goes beyond just neighborly grace. The entire structure of their society, including the government and media has established a collective responsibility for the well-being of the nation.
Political corruption and violent crime rates remain low in the country, and citizens and tourists report feeling safe. Additionally, Finns reported having faith in their law enforcement services based on their effectiveness and the quality of the police work.
Honesty is highly valued in the Finnish community. They are often regarded as honest people, and Finland is home to the “Most Honest City,” Helsinki. Overall, this important virtue combined with the faith in their institutional and community systems continue to earn Finland high marks in happiness.
There are many other reasons to hold Finland in high regard, but these are our favorite qualities of this outstanding country. Surely we can learn a few things that will make our own lives more enriched and balanced.