Updated: Apr 7
Today , March 20th, it's international happiness day. It is also the tenth anniversary of the World Happiness Report, published this week. The report uses global survey data to report how people see their own happiness in 155 countries worldwide. The World Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bit of light in challenging times.
The Nordic countries consistently rank as the happiest nations in the world: For the fifth year in a row, Finland occupies the top spot, whereas Denmark continues in second place. In fact: all of the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark) have a place in the top 10 once again. Here are the top rankings:
But why does the cold North seem to be populated with happy people? Is it founded in our culture to have a high level of satisfaction with life? or should we look to anything specific the Nordic countries have done to increase happiness? Scholars have theorized on how to explain Nordic happiness. Many point to frameworks like well-functioning democracy, free education, healthcare, and a high priority of life balance.
But also, 'trust' looks like a keyword: a high level of trust in people and organizations is a general characteristic of the Nordic region. This is proven in The Wallet Test: If you, for instance, lose your wallet, including money, somewhere in Denmark, there is an 80% chance that a finder will return it to you- with the money!
But could the rankings also have to do with the Danish hygge, The Swedish lagom, or maybe even the Finnish concept of Sisu (Check my blog on Scandinavian words for joy here). Actually, Denmark has two different words for happiness: Glæde, which is a feeling of joy in the moment here and now, and Lykke, which refers to a more general sense of life happiness. The author and founder of the Happiness Research Institute wrote a book about the concept.
Does design and interior decoration have anything to do with happiness? In one of my blog posts from last year, I write about Nordic design for Happiness. In this blog, I point to some research documenting the connection between interior design and wellbeing and specifically the impact that nature, and even indoor plants, may have on our state of mind. Personally, it gives me a lot of joy to surround myself with coordinated colors, airy spaces, and lots of green plants in my home. At least, I feel that my Scandinavian home is a place to rest and recharge batteries. My home is a hygge home and a way of achieving wellbeing.
My own best tip for happiness:
Practice daily gratitude for what you appreciate in your life. Make it a habit each night to review in your mind at least three things that you have been grateful for throughout the day. It can be things that I sometimes take for granted, like having a beautiful family, and it can be things that I have experienced during the day, something that I have prioritized to do that day. This is a great way to fall asleep. In addition, when we focus on what already works and what we want more of in life, we may attract more of it.
I hope every one of you will experience many happy moments throughout the day. Happy Happiness Day!
Source: The World Happiness Report is a publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, powered by the Gallup World Poll data.
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