Finland held on to its crown as the world's happiest country in the latest World Happiness Report. Miika Mäkitalo, CEO of HappyorNot, explained what the result means to Finnish people.

Miika told "Being the happiest country still comes as a bit of surprise to most of us here, and we even make jokes wondering if mistakes might have been made in the process of choosing the happiest country!

"Finns generally have a self-deprecating attitude towards these kinds of things, so if you ask a Finn about it, they'd probably be modest, or even seem a bit incredulous."

Miika's company, HappyorNot, designs the customer response smiley face buttons seen at airports around the globe.

He said: "Showing emotions outwardly isn't something we're particularly well-known for, either. As Finns, we often talk about the 'Finnish smile', which is actually just a neutral expression, and for others it's difficult to tell if somebody is thrilled or upset.

"This is partly what inspired us to make HappyOrNot - the smiley-face buttons allow people to give feedback even if they don't show it on their faces."

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But even if Finnish people might seem "incredulous" to hear how happy they are, Miika thinks there are a few aspects of the lifestyle that could boost your mood.

He said: "There is high trust among citizens and for public organisations, and we can trust that we will be taken care of even if something bad happens.

"Also, I think our respect for nature is an important factor here. Finland is a beautiful place, but nature can also be harsh; it gets very cold and icy. We enjoy spending time outdoors, even when it's freezing, and I think time spent in nature is not only good for our physical health, but also for wellbeing."

Although saunas are popular around the globe, there are estimated to be three million in Finland, in a population of just five million. Miika think's Finland's sauna culture helps people to relax.

Finns also have their own unique philosophy known as 'sisu' which Miika says he uses during challenging times.

He told "In Finland, we have a philosophy called 'sisu'. This word is hard to translate, but it's an amalgamation of perseverance, grit and keeping problems in perspective.

"It is a sort of national characteristic. The word literally comes from the Finnish word for 'guts', so it's kind of like saying something 'takes guts' in English. It can be extremely cold and dark here for a lot of the year, so we rely a lot on our 'sisu' mindset (and warm saunas!) to get through the winter months.

"I also use a 'sisu' mentality for some of my more challenging pastimes, like ultra-running, so I think it can be really helpful for building resilience and self-belief."

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Miika encourages tourists looking for some extra serotonin in the form of sisu and saunas in Finland to travel beyond the capital.

He said: "Finland has lots of great places to visit. Our capital city Helsinki is of course popular with international visitors, and I suppose a lot of people know us for Lapland and visiting the real Santa.

"HappyOrNot is based in Tampere - north of Helsinki, so I definitely think there is more to explore in our beautiful country beyond the capital. There are great places for winter sports, like skiing and ice skating, as well as opportunities to see wonders like the northern lights.

"Some beautiful locations off the beaten track include places like Koli, the old town of Rauma and Åland."

Happiest countries in the world

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Israel
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Switzerland
  9. Luxembourg
  10. New Zealand

2023-03-25T04:06:00Z dg43tfdfdgfd