It might seem strange to think about countries as being “happy” in a period when the world is faced with the Covid-19 pandemic. On 28th March 2020, the researchers published this year’s annual report which ranks the countries in the world by how happy they are (Source: World Happiness Report 2020)
To get an idea of how happy people are, the researchers told people to imagine life as a ladder. The worst possible life would be on step 0. The best possible life would be step 10. Then the researchers asked people where they were on the ladder.
They asked this question of 1,000 people in 156 different countries over the last three years.
For the third year in a row, the report named Finland as the world’s happiest country. Filling out the top five countries were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
To help explain the results, the researchers looked at several important areas, such as how much people earn, how long they live, how free they are, how much support they get from the government and the people around them.
Of course, the kind of happiness that is being measured by the report isn’t just about laughing, smiling, and telling jokes. It’s more about how satisfied people are with their lives. The researchers say that when people live in a place where they trust other people and the government, they are more likely to be happy.
Countries in northern Europe, like Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, have always led the happiness results, since the report was first published in 2012. They are all fairly rich countries, but the governments also have strong programs to support their citizens.
As countries around the world face the massive challenges brought by the Covid-19 virus, the report’s authors note that happiness doesn’t always disappear during difficult times. In fact, in high-trust countries, disasters can often leave people with a surprising good feeling as they pull together to help solve the problems they face.
Here is a list of the report’s 20 happiest countries:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- Costa Rica
- United States
- Czech Republic
With the current Covid-19 pandemic, this might be the unhappiest time for the whole world, but we shouldn’t forget about what makes us happy. As we already mentioned that Finland is ranked as the happiest country third year in a row, so let see what makes the Finnish people so happy.
1. Often walk in the forest
The first thing we should know is it that 70% of Finland is covered with forests. “Nature is our secret” say the Finns. “We like to put on our wellies and head to the forest to calm down or just to relax”
However, if you can’t leave your home, you can still replicate this experience from your home by listening to the relaxing sounds of Lapland through Scapes album on Spotify. “Close your eyes relax on your sofa and have an imaginary journey to the Finish forest”.
2. Start your day with a cold shower
Finns like to swim in lakes and seas in winter. Once they return on land, the body starts to warm up and this makes them feel happy. The easiest way to do this at home is to have a cold shower. And don’t worry, just a few minutes of this would make a big difference. If you do this in the morning, you can’t ask for a more refreshing way to start your day.
3. Read more books
In 2016, the United Nations named Finland the world’s most literate nation. Finns love reading books. They are 5.5 million people, and they borrow close to 68 million books a year. However, if you can’t go to the library, reading books at home or online on the internet can have the same influence on your mental health and happiness. For starters, reading (about any subject) is going to relax you more than surfing on the social networks.
4. Cook or make a food speciality
The Finns are obsessed with their local speciality called „korvapuusti“ (in English Cinnamon bun). “We start our day with this and we definitely don’t count calories” say the Finnish people about this speciality. “These bans with cinnamon are the perfect food for us. When we bakes them, there is this cozy smell coming from the kitchen that reminiscent childhood days when we ate them with a glass of milk” says one Finnish citizen. In fact, the elder Finns like to combine this speciality with coffee. This is a kind of a national treasure and has a special word called pullakahvit, which translates “bun coffee”. On the following link you can find the recipe for making korvapuusti.
5. Enjoy art online
Another Finish hallmark is its rich art. The country is the home of more than 55 art museums and the biggest part of the country’s art is inspired by the Finns’ close relationship with nature. Finns also use art to calm their mind. So why don’t you take a virtual tour from your sofa to the Finnish museums so you can understand how art can bring happiness.
Author: T. Milchevska (9-4 grade)
The original article is published in the school online digital newspaper In-formator