Last year, Finland was named the Happiest Country in the World, for the second year in a row. It’s clear that Finland takes the well-being of its citizens very seriously.
That said, with a brand new year ahead of us, perhaps it’s best to adopt a more Finnish approach to life. In fact, the best way to ensure that you have a productive and healthy 2020 is by incorporating some of Finland’s top wellness habits into your life. After all, happiness has been linked to a number of health benefits.
With that said, here are 4 easy lessons that we can adopt from the Finnish in order to bring some happiness into our lives, and have an incredibly healthy and productive year.
4 Happiness and Wellness Hacks From Finland
1. Sauna time
According to statistics, Finland has a population of about 5 million, as well as an average of 2 million saunas in the country (1). With almost every household coming fully equipped with a sauna, letting off some steam is clearly a national pastime in Finland.
However, just because you don’t have a sauna in your house doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit your local spa to indulge in a sauna treatment of your own. In fact, Finnish research published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found a strong association between sauna use and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s not just heart health that saunas can help protect. In fact, they can also offer the same protective properties for your brain. According to a Finnish study published in the journal Age and Ageing, individuals who used a sauna 2 to 3 times per week were 22% less likely to develop dementia and 20% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who did not use a sauna.
2. Super berries
Finland is home to small, blueberries known as bilberries (or European blueberries), and these small blue super bombs have been linked to a number of health benefits. It’s no wonder the Finnish are so happy all the time, especially with such a powerful superfood being part of their diets.
Bilberries contain large amounts of vitamin C and K, fiber, and manganese, as well as the powerful flavonoid antioxidant anthocyanins. This compound is responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their red, blue, and purple hues. Additionally, it’s also been linked to the numerous health benefits that bilberries provide. In fact, bilberries have been linked to improving vision, heart health, as well as brain function (2,3,4).
If you are unable to get your hands on bilberries, there’s no need to worry. Simply purchase blueberries as their nutritional profile closely resembles that of bilberries.
3. Forest therapy
Over 70% of Finland’s land area is covered by forests, and as a result, the country holds a traditional legal concept called everyman’s right. This rule allows for the public to roam freely in natural areas that include forests, lakes as well as rivers, even if said areas fall on private lands (they don’t even have to obtain permission from landowners). As long as no damage or disturbance is caused to the landowners, the public is welcome to camp out overnight in a tent, vehicle, or boat anywhere they see fit.
However, in the case that you don’t happen to live next to Finland’s expansive forest, there’s no reason as to why you can’t spend at least 120 minutes of your day in nature. According to research published in the journal Nature, doing so will serve to improve both your physical and mental health.
According to research, Finland is one of the most literate countries in the world. With such a strong emphasis on reading, it’s no wonder that so many of Finland’s inhabitants are content with their lives.
Curling up with a good book can provide one with the ultimate health boost. For one, reading provides mental stimulation which is an effective way of warding off both Alzheimer’s and dementia (5).
Additionally, research published in The Journal of Social Science and Medicine found that bookworms lived approximately 2 years longer than those who didn’t read. Perhaps your 2020 new year’s resolution should include adding more books to your reading list?
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