8 uplifting lessons I learned living in Finland, the world’s happiest country

There’s something special about Finland, known as the world’s happiest country.

Living here was an enlightening experience that taught me some valuable lessons about life, happiness and community.

Discovering these lessons didn’t happen overnight.

But as I immersed myself in the Finnish way of life, I began to understand why they consistently top the happiness charts.

In this article, I want to share 8 uplifting lessons I learned from living in Finland.

These are insights that can transform your perspective and might just make your life a little happier too.

So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or should I say, a Finnish ‘kahvi’), and let’s embark on this joy-filled journey.

1) Sisu: Embrace resilience

Living in Finland, I encountered a term that doesn’t have an exact translation in English: Sisu.

Sisu is a concept deeply ingrained in the Finnish culture.

It embodies resilience, determination, and perseverance – the idea of pushing through challenges against all odds.

This isn’t just about personal strength. It’s also about collective strength.

It’s the power that comes from supporting each other during tough times, a lesson that’s deeply needed in today’s world.

In Finland, Sisu is not just a word; it’s a lifestyle.

And it’s one of the most uplifting lessons I learned while living there.

Embrace Sisu. Embrace resilience. Because life isn’t always smooth sailing, but with Sisu, you’ll always find your way to shore.

2) The magic of a Finnish sauna

In Finland, I experienced the true magic of the sauna – and it’s not just about relaxation.

I remember my first time stepping into a traditional Finnish sauna.

The heat was intense, the air filled with the aroma of burning wood. It was a place where worries melted away, replaced by tranquility.

But the magic didn’t stop there.

After the sauna, I’d step out into the crisp, cool air or plunge into a nearby lake. It was a stark contrast that left me feeling invigorated and truly alive.

Beyond physical benefits, I discovered that saunas in Finland are sacred spaces for social connection.

They are places where people gather to share stories, bond, and unwind together.

It’s a lesson about the importance of community and shared experiences – a lesson I’ve carried with me ever since.

3) Embracing the outdoors, no matter the season

In Finland, the changing seasons are not a deterrent but an invitation to connect with nature.

The Finns have a term for this: “Jokamiehenoikeus”, which translates to “Everyman’s right”.

This law allows everyone in Finland the freedom to roam and enjoy outdoor activities in nature, regardless of who owns the land.

It’s about respecting nature while also enjoying it, from picking berries in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter.

This deep connection with nature contributes significantly to the happiness of the Finnish people.

It’s a reminder of how simplicity and a connection with the natural world can bring immense joy and peace.

4) The importance of balance

One of the most significant lessons I learned in Finland is the value of balance.

This applies to all aspects of life – work, leisure, family, and personal time.

In Finland, work-life balance isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s a way of life.

Long working hours are not glorified, but instead, quality of work within reasonable hours is valued.

Additionally, ample time for family, hobbies, rest, and relaxation is considered crucial for overall well-being.

This approach fosters a healthy balance that contributes to happiness and contentment.

By embracing this Finnish lesson, we can cultivate a more balanced lifestyle, leading to greater satisfaction in all areas of our lives.

5) The Finnish concept of ‘koti’

In Finland, ‘koti’ or home isn’t just about a physical space. It’s a feeling of comfort, peace, and warmth.

It’s about creating a haven where you and your loved ones can relax, be yourselves and feel truly at ease.

During my time in Finland, I experienced ‘koti’ in its truest sense.

Whether it was in the cosy log cabins nestled amidst snow-covered forests or the urban apartments with their minimalist Scandinavian design, there was always an unmistakeable sense of tranquillity.

But ‘koti’ transcends beyond four walls.

It’s about the people you share it with, the memories you create, and the love that fills the space.

This heartfelt Finnish lesson has taught me to cherish my home and the precious moments spent within it.

6) The power of silence

In Finland, I learned that silence isn’t awkward; it’s appreciated.

As a naturally talkative person, this was a challenging lesson for me to grasp.

There were moments during my stay in Finland when conversations would naturally quiet down, and instead of feeling the need to fill the silence, I learned to embrace it.

I started to appreciate the quiet moments, the chance to reflect, and the peace that comes with it.

This shift in perspective was transformative.

It made me realize that not every space needs to be filled with words and that sometimes, silence can speak volumes.

It’s a lesson I’ve carried with me – the power of silence and the beauty of peace in stillness.

7) The value of simplicity

In Finland, I discovered the beauty of simplicity.

From the minimalist design aesthetics to the simplicity in their way of living, it’s clear that less can indeed be more.

I observed how the Finns embrace simplicity in their daily lives.

Whether it’s in their unpretentious food, their efficient transport systems, or their uncomplicated social norms, there’s a clear appreciation for simplicity and functionality.

This lesson taught me to declutter, not only my physical surroundings but also my mind and life.

By focusing on what truly matters and letting go of the unnecessary, I found a sense of clarity and contentment that’s truly liberating.

8) The Finnish approach to education

Perhaps one of the most inspiring lessons from Finland is their approach to education.

Finnish schools consistently rank among the best in the world, and it’s not by accident.

In Finland, education is not just about academics. It’s about developing well-rounded individuals.

There’s an emphasis on creativity, critical thinking, and social skills.

Moreover, equality is a cornerstone of Finnish education.

All children, regardless of their background or abilities, have access to the same high-quality education.

This lesson demonstrates the power of an inclusive and holistic approach to learning – a lesson that could reshape education systems worldwide for the better.

Final reflection: Happiness is a journey, not a destination

In essence, Finland’s happiness isn’t about having the best of everything.

It’s about making the best of everything they have.

From embracing simplicity and balance, to nurturing a deep connection with nature and community, the Finnish way of life offers valuable lessons for us all.

These lessons have helped shape my perspective on happiness and well-being.

They’ve taught me that happiness isn’t a destination to reach, but a journey to embark on.

It’s about embracing the little moments, appreciating the quiet, and finding joy in the simplicity of life.

Finland may be the world’s happiest country, but the pursuit of happiness is universal.

It’s an ongoing journey that we’re all part of, filled with lessons waiting to be learned and experiences waiting to be savored.

As you navigate your own journey, may these lessons from Finland inspire you to seek balance, embrace simplicity, savor solitude, and find joy in every moment.

After all, happiness is not just a feeling; it’s a way of life.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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