A Note on Hygge and the Happiest People Earth

The Finnish are the happiest people in the world in 2020, according to the World Happiness Report. 

It might be because they’ve mastered Finnish (which is a stunning feat in my opinion) and thus they’ve checked off all the self mastery aspirations and can rest on their laurels.

But probably it has something to do with the decisions they make to be happy every single day.

Although did you know that the Finns enjoy the popular sport of wife-carrying? Truth. I think I’d be happier if I were carried around places. Actually the event involves backpacking your upside-down spouse through an obstacle course to win your wife’s weight in beer. Please do yourself a service and look this up on youtube. You won’t regret it. I’m convinced this also contributes to Finnish happiness.

It’s also true that in Finland, there are more saunas than cars. But as a country, they’re also way into heavy metal music I’ve learned, so in my opinion these two fun facts cancel each other out and therefore don’t move the happiness needle. 

Back to decisions.

And the home.

And happiness.

Finns and the people of Scandinavia in general experience some super cold weather. Some days the sun doesn’t even rise at all in the winter. On the flip side, they experience some really bright summer weeks, where the sun barely sets! I find this fascinating. Here’s why. In America we like to attribute our happiness to external sources: got the new car, nailed the job, cute kids, clean house, beautiful beachside condo, etc. But it seems to me that in Finland, while they have a bazillion lakes and salty licorice and free education on their side, they choose happiness despite living in a black tundra for half the year. 

The Scandananavians also do the hygge-- a Swedish term for cozy connection-- in their homes. They create sanctuaries within (allusion alert!) that bring them joy.

The bottom line magic is this:

Remove your happiness from your circumstance if you want to be reliably and sustainably happy.

And use candles often.

And run through mud with your favorite lady on your back three times a week.

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