How is World Happiness Measured?
During such adverse time due to Covid-19 where most people are sad, anxious or depressed it becomes ambiguous to measure World Happiness.
No matter how vague the concept seems it hasn’t been a challenge for United Nations to approximately scale it.
The result has been the publication of the annual World Happiness report.
First published in 2012, the report has been conducted every year by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
The metrics it uses when surveying citizens in each UN member state include social support, personal and civil freedoms, life expectancy, income per capita and levels of corruption among others.
What’s different about the 2021 World Happiness Report?
This year’s publication has been distinct.
Apart from the usual criteria’s, the 2021 report also factored in the following points –
- People’s emotional responses to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic;
- Governance in respect of Covid-19 in each country;
- How people’s trust in government itself is related to happiness levels.
The report further added that their aim was two-fold; first, to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the quality and structure of people’s lives, whereas the second thing was to evaluate and describe how governments across the world have dealt with the pandemic.
The top 10 countries remains largely unchanged compared to previous years.
Finland Awarded The Top Title In The World Happiness Report 2021
Awarded the title of happiest country in the world for the fourth year running, Finland looks like it has cracked the secret to being happy.
Reportedly, the European nation has bagged the title for the fourth year in a row.
This year, above all else, confidence in the government seems to have played a large part.
The report’s authors noted that Finland “ranked very high on the measures of mutual trust that have helped to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic.”
Here are seven lessons we can pull from Finland, so we, too, can learn to revel—even in the darkness :
1. Work Life In Finland
From a work-life point of view, Finland was one of the first nations to pioneer the flat working model.
The idea behind this is to increase team cohesion and workplace productivity, all the while empowering the workforce to work, simply offering maximum flexibility while doing so.
This worker-centric approach to business has served Finland well for more than a decade.
Thus, happiness is linked with the joy we derive from our job and the pursuit of a healthy work-life balance.
2. Philosophy From Finland
‘Sisu’, a Finnish philosophy that roughly translates to ‘stoic perseverance’ in English.
It is a Finnish term that means strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.
It stands for the philosophy that what must be done will be done, regardless of cost.
Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage.
You might call it backbone, spunk, stamina, guts, or drive and perseverance.
Sisu is an inherent characteristic of the Finnish people.
3. The Way Finland Approaches Social Causes
As a nation, Finland inculcates the Sisu Philosophy in so many ways.
One example is the successful approach that the country has taken to ending homelessness.
Finland’s novel ‘Housing First’ model ensures that rough sleepers are given the right support, with an end-goal of eventually owning their own home.
As a result of the government’s efforts, Finland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness globally.
Finland also places high importance on gender equality and closing the gender pay gap.
It is, in fact, the only country in the developed world in which fathers spend more time with school-aged children than mothers.
4. Sweating Together in Finland is Culture
Sweating it out in a sauna is a Finnish national pastime.
With an estimated two million saunas in Finland—for a population of 5.4 million—there’s plenty of room for everyone.
As revered community gathering spaces in both the public domain and private homes, saunas are a place to purify body and soul.
Ultimately, coming together in the sauna creates a sense of community with an equalizing effect.
In the sauna, everyone is stripped down not just of clothes but also of obvious signs of profession or societal status.
(Note that saunas are typically segregated into men’s and women’s, although some are coed and allow bathing suits.)
5. Finland And It’s Mindful Consumption
Finns embrace a Nordic minimalism that prefers well-made, sustainable, functional items that will stand the test of time.
Finland is a country of borrowers and flea market lovers, too—as the most literate country in the world.
Finns are passionate users of public libraries: 5.5 million people borrow close to 68 million books a year.
6. Accepting the Darkness as well as Happiness
Finns accept that dark days are part of everyday life and even revel in them.
I think this acceptance of negative emotions as part of life might actually have a positive effect on the happiness of Finns.
“Trying to suppress one’s negative emotions is bad for one’s well-being, so it is better to learn to embrace them and, through that, actually learn to accept one’s life for what it is.”
7. Coining Happiness from an early age
Finland has a proud tradition of trying to give all children an equal, healthy start in life.
In addition, Finns benefit from a relatively strong social safety net, including affordable daycare and virtually free elementary, secondary, and university education.
Plus, “Spending time in nature and the outdoors from an early age, in a relatively safe country where children can walk home from school starting at the age of seven or eight years old, fosters a healthy sense of independence,” says Pantzar.
To us, it’s obvious why the Finnish people are so happy.
The country habitually pushes the boundaries of working and socioeconomic culture in order to be the most progressive and forward-thinking nation, not for itself, but for the sake of its people, and in the hope that other nations might learn something from its successes.