The United Nations recently announced through the World Happiness Report that Finland has been named the happiest country in the world for the third consecutive year. In addition, as a novelty this year, the World Happiness Report 2020 classifies cities for the first time by their well-being index and the first place of the happiest city in the world has gone to its capital, Helsinki. The report analyzes the way in which social, urban and natural environments are combined to influence the state of happiness and satisfaction of people. In this sense, one of his main conclusions is walking through green spaces makes people happy.
If you ask a Finn what makes him happy, one of the answers is nature. Finns love to put on boots and go out into the woods to breathe fresh air and calm their minds. Approximately 70% of the country is covered with forests. People fall in love with the clean air, serenity and silence that characterizes Finland. However, now is not the time to travel, but rather to focus on the health and well-being of oneself and those around us. That is why Visitfinland.com has put together a series of simple tips on how to find calm at home, in the Finnish way, while dreaming of the next adventure.
A cold shower
If there’s something Finns like, it’s swimming in winter, just as much as they love the sauna. The secret of immersing yourself in ice-cold water lies in the sensation that is felt throughout the body once you get out of the water: as soon as you return to dry land, circulation is activated and the body begins to heat up, producing a feeling of happiness. In this way, our body produces the hormone called serotonin, which balances the mood together with dopamine, and this allows stress to disappear. The easiest way to do this at home is to take an icy shower for a couple of minutes. If it is done in the morning, the day will start in a very refreshing way. Immerse yourself in the Finnish “Sisu” mentality, and do it! You can alternate cold and warm showers to get a “sauna” feeling and this will help with better circulation.
A good read
Finland is a country of 5.5 million people who annually borrows around 68 million books and these are part of the hearts of the Finns. In Finland there is a wide variety of libraries. Oodi in Helsinki was recognized as the world’s best public library * shortly after opening its doors in 2019. In 2016, the UN named Finland the most literate nation on the planet, and Finns are among the most passionate users of public libraries of the world. The Mumins are probably the best-known and most adored Finnish literary icon. Hippo-shaped, they are characters created by the beloved Swedish-speaking Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson in the 1940s. Today they are part of Finnish identity and have inspired entire generations, from children to adults. The Mumins’ books can be found in every bookshop and library in Finland. Do not hesitate! Reading any of them is surely more relaxing than spending time on social media.
The sofa, a relaxing
There is something magical in the forest and in the soul of Finland that has always been linked to it. The green color is relaxing; the soft rustle of the leaves and pine nuts sound like music. Finns feel good in the forest. The forest roots us and helps us remember who we are and where we come from. There it is impossible to feel alone or lost, as the forest provides us with protection and peace. Spending as little as 15 minutes surrounded by trees has been scientifically proven to help soothe pulsations and the body begins to feel rested. What a wonderful cure for stress! So, close your eyes, stretch out on the sofa and take an imaginary trip to the Finnish forest.
You can experience the relaxing sounds of Finnish Lapland by listening to the Scapes album on Spotify.
A tasty dish
Korvapuusti translates to ‘pounded ears’ in English, but they really are Finnish-style baked cinnamon rolls with a hint of cardamom. Finns love to have coffee and they are considered great fans of this product. In fact, a curious fact is that the proportion of annual coffee per person is approximately 10 kg. The Korvapuusti is also known as ‘pullakahvit’, which literally means ‘coffee bun’; Which can be enjoyed at home with a coffee or in the workplace, when it is convenient to share it with colleagues. For Finns, the ideal time of day to share a bagel is at the end of the day. Cinnamon muffins are comforting and baked at home give off a cozy smell in the kitchen that drives everyone crazy.
Travel through the internet
Finland’s grand scene of contemporary art ranges from experimental initiatives led by artist and commercial galleries to iconic art institutions. In this country there are more than 55 art museums and numerous art galleries in its different cities.
Finland is a country of great extremes and contrasts and, together with the Finns’ close relationship with nature, they are the main sources of inspiration for Finnish art. Finns use art to relax the mind and transport their thoughts to comfortable, stress-free 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, the Amos Rex museum won the prestigious LCD (Leading Culture Destination) award as Europe’s new cultural destination of the year. Enjoy a virtual tour of this cultural space to see the new Generation 2020 exhibition through Instagram stories.
If you want to discover Lapland, visit the Rovaniemi Art Museum, located in the Arctic Circle. His main focus is Finnish Contemporary Art and Northern Art. For culture buffs and those looking for something more classic, the Ateneum Art Museum is recommended. The collection of the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki includes more than 450 works by the famous Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Enjoy a virtual tour to see the Athenaeum. Inspired by all the splendor of Finnish art you’ve seen online? Visit Taiko, the world’s largest online gallery and the unique Finnish art market.