I think it’s quite safe to say that the past year wasn’t the best year ever. For many, it was strange and frightening. For others, it was even worse than that. Our immediate future doesn’t look all that great based on what we saw this year, but there are some places on earth where happiness reigns.
We can see a familiar pattern start to form when it comes to the world’s happiest countries. Three of the top five countries are located in Scandinavia, which should probably tell us that they are really doing something right.
Finland is renowned for its excellent education system, low levels of corruption, very high literacy rates, and a relatively small income gap from top to bottom. Factor in a long life expectancy and a great work-life balance and it’s not difficult to see why Finland is one of the happiest countries in the world.
If the city isn’t your thing, tourists may also quite enjoy some of the stunning Nordic country scenery that Finland is known for.
In recent years the Norwegian government made a real push to advertise this amazing country to the rest of the world. The pictures spoke for themselves and this is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Scandinavia. It might not be the cheapest holiday vacation in the world, but you can’t really put a price on happiness.
For its full-time residents, Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world thanks to its prosperity and a sense of satisfaction with the standard of living. Not to mention the fact that three-quarters of people report that, in general, positive days far outweigh the negative ones.
Iceland is a great example for every country out there. Given its recent troubled history, it is amazing that Iceland is now considered one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s placing here just shows you how much positivity can be drawn from what seem to be the most challenging of times.
The massive economic recession of 2008 served to bring communities within Iceland together. In doing so they have turned their country around. The true root of happiness may be a more complex topic to understand, but this beautiful place will bring a smile to the face of any visitor.
With active volcanoes, pristine beaches, lovely towns and cities, an amazing loop road around the whole country for road trip lovers, and just the most incredible natural beauty available in all directions, it’s easy to see why Iceland is one of the happiest countries on earth.
Switzerland breaks up the Scandinavian monopoly on the world’s happiest countries with its appearance here. Its inclusion is also a little surprising as Switzerland might seem to be the opposite in many ways from the other happy countries. This is a country which includes one of the most expensive cities in the world and has long been renowned for drawing in the world’s jet-setters to its ski slopes and numerous fancy boutiques.
What it certainly does have in common with the other happiest countries on the list is an abundance of natural beauty. The Alps, mountain lakes, picturesque towns, and villages that serve hearty, local food, it’s a haven for adventure and sports’ lovers. Switzerland is fully deserving on the list of the world’s happiest countries.
Denmark is officially the happiest country in the world. A lot of people have become aware of this fact over the last few years. In fact, the Danish word, hygee, as come to define this uniquely high-level of happiness.
Hygee can loosely be translated to coziness, but there is also an emphasis on how the Danes just seem to take real pleasure in simple things. When you think about it, it is strange that Scandinavia with so much cold weather and darkness should be such a happy place. The people here are obviously able to innately draw on some inner resilience to see the light in things.
For happiness-tourists, Denmark is an excellent stop. For all of us, it should be observed and studied rather than simply enjoyed. If whole parts of the world can be genuinely happy as a collective, there’s no reason why the rest of us can’t join in too.
Featured photo credit: Vitolda Klein via unsplash.com