Finland was shown to be the happiest country in the world in the latest Happiness Report by the UN. The Finnish capital Helsinki was also named as the happiest city of them all. So why is it that Finland has become such a happy nation? What is their secret?
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According to the Finnish tourist board Visit Finland, the answer to what makes them happy is nature.
However, with Britons’ movements severely restricted at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic – how can one achieve the happiness of the Finns while at home?
Visit Finland have shared simple tips on how to find your calm at home – the Finnish way.
1. Start your day with a cold shower
(instead of a dip in a lake or the sea)
The Finns love winter swimming as much as they love the sauna. The secret of plunging into icy water lies in the feeling that surges through your body once you get out of the water – as soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up and makes you feel happy.
Your body is producing the mood-balancing hormone serotonin with dopamine, and stress starts to melt away.
The easiest way to do this at home is to take an ice-cold shower for a couple of minutes in the morning for a refreshing way to start your day. You can alternate cold and warm showers to get a “sauna” feeling, and your blood circulating even better.
2. Make sense of the world by reading
(instead of visiting a library)
Books are close to the Finns’ hearts. There are many libraries in Finland with Helsinki’s Oodi being the newest library to open in 2019 and was awarded the best public library in the world the same year.
In 2016 the United Nations named Finland the world’s most literate nation, and Finns are among the world’s most enthusiastic users of public libraries. They are 5.5 million people, and they borrow close to 68 million books a year.
Moomins are probably the most known and adored Finnish literary icon. The white, hippo-like Moomins are Finnish characters created by the much‐loved Swedish‐speaking Finn, writer and artist Tove Jansson in the 1940s.
Today the Moomins are part of the Finnish identity, inspiring generations over and over from children to adults. Moomin books can be found in every bookshop and library in Finland.
3. Experience a relaxing forest path on your sofa
(instead of walk-in an actual forest)
There is something magical about the forest and the Finnish soul has always been linked with it.
Finns feel good in the forest. The forest roots them and help them remember who they are and where they come from. In the forest Finns don’t feel alone or even lost – the forest provides protection and peace.
It has been scientifically proven that only 15 minutes in the forest calms your pulse and your body starts to rest; what a wonderfully simple cure for stress!
So, close your eyes, stretch yourself on the sofa, and have an imaginary sound trip to the Finnish forest.
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4. Bake a Cinnamon bun
(instead of visiting a Finnish café serving them)
Korvapuusti translates into “slapped ears” in English but they are essentially cinnamon buns baked Finnish style with a dash of cardamom.
Finns love coffee (they are heavy drinkers of coffee, almost 10 kg per person per year) and korvapuusti so much that there is actually a special word for it, “pullakahvit”, which literally means “bun coffee”, either it is home-made, enjoyed at a café, or at work with your workmates – at the moment Finns are doing with virtual “pullakahvi” pauses.
For Finnish people, it’s the highlight of the day, and they definitely don’t count the calories. Cinnamon buns are perfect comfort food as well, and baked at home they bring a cosy smell to the kitchen reminiscent childhood days when they ate them with a glass of milk.
5. Transport your thoughts through online
(instead of visiting a museum)
Finland’s contemporary art scene embraces everything from experimental artist-run initiatives and commercial galleries to flagship art institutions. There are more than 55 art museums, and numerous art galleries packed into our cities.
Finland is a country of extremes and contrasts and along with the Finns’ close relationship with nature are the main sources of inspiration for Finnish Art.
The Finns use art to calm the mind and transport their thoughts to stress-free comforting places. Why not take a virtual trip from your own sofa to the Finnish museums to understand how art is a tool for happiness.
In March 2020, Amos Rex won the prestigious LCD (Leading Culture Destination) Award for New Cultural Destination of the Year – Europe. Have a virtual tour of the new museum to see the new Generation 2020 exhibition in their Instagram Stories.
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