The Key to Happiness in Nordic Countries is Reading, Coffee and Saunas

Jimmy Soul wrote a song in 1963 called If You Wanna Be Happy. He suggests the following in his classic hit song:

“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life

Never make a pretty woman your wife

So from my personal point of view

Get an ugly girl to marry you.”

The Finns, have another idea in mind. To be happy they say, read, drink coffee, and relax in saunas.

Every year, for the last seven years, the World Happiness Report is published. The central theme of the 2019 report is on happiness and community: how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

Go to Finland

For the second year in a row, Finland takes the top spot in the annual ranking of countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. This general feeling of happiness is all over Scandinavia or the Nordic countries. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland all made the top 10 places. The United States by contrast, came in 19th place.

The proof is in the pudding

Each year 156 countries are ranked in terms of their happiness using data collected in the Gallup World Poll. Participants were asked to rate their lives on a zero to 10 scale with 10 being the best possible life for them and zero being the worst possible life for them. Finland came in at the top because its people achieve happiness through reading, drinking coffee, and saunas.

How do retired people relax?

Some argue that retirement is a constant state of relaxation. The retired know differently though. Older people have a hard time relaxing, especially if they have only known work with little time off in their lives. The transition to retirement can be devastating and can age a person overnight because many of us define ourselves by what we do. Relaxing is not work.

In Finland, reading a book, drinking coffee, and regular saunas do the job. Staying active, as long as you can, as you age should be a top priority for individuals in retirement. Swimming, golfing, and tennis are three good forms of exercise with varying degrees of social components. As mobility becomes more limited consider reading to relax. If your eyes tire easily, audio books are an excellent way to stay current with popular thrillers or the latest romance novel.

Drinking coffee may keep you up at night but coffee aficionados can’t seem to stay awake without it. The committed coffee drinker would argue that coffee drinking has kept them alive past their time.

Saunas are hot environments. The heat causes your blood vessels to dilate increasing blood flow and causing you to sweat out toxins that occupy the human body. In a way, saunas are a form of exercise. Calories burn in the process and excess water is eliminated bringing immediate relief to people who suffer from cardiovascular problems.

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