If any country knows a thing or two about happiness, it’s Finland.
Pop quiz: what’s the happiest place on Earth? If you answered Disneyland, well, that’s certainly an acceptable answer, but not the one we were looking for. No, the happiest place on Earth is, in fact, Finland. For the past two years, Finland has won the award for Happiest Country in the World from the World Happiness Report. Finland’s happiness could likely be attributed to all sorts of socioeconomic factors, but since we don’t have time for all that, let’s instead focus on a few tricks popularized by the Finnish.
According to real estate statistics, Finland is home to approximately 2 million saunas, with most residential homes equipped with one. Saunas aren’t really a common household thing here in the States, but if you’ve never tried one, you really ought to. Studies show that a sensible-length sauna session is great for your cardiovascular and brain health. All that heat and sweat really gets you blood cells firing.
One of Finland’s local products are a small fruit called bilberries. They’re like blueberries, but smaller. Bilberries are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants. These little guys are great for your eyes, heart, and brain, and besides everything, they taste great. If you can’t get bilberries, then just eat more blueberries; their nutritional make-up is pretty similar.
Finland holds a prestigious spot as one of the most literate countries in the world. Those Finnish folk love their books, and why not? Reading a book, be it fiction or nonfiction, is great mental stimulation, which is especially beneficial for older folks; studies show that regular reading can help to stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, regular readers have actually been shown to live a little longer than those who don’t read.
So, in short, if you want to be as happy as Finland, sit in a sauna, eat blueberries, and read a book. Maybe not all at the same time, though.