The happiest country in the world is determined by a World Happiness Report, a yearly survey commissioned in 2012 by UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon as part of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Using factors such as the economy, lifestyle, public policy, health and environment, this group looks at 156 nations and then calculates which ones are the happiest. Telegraph.co.uk reports that the 2016 winner was Denmark. Also included in the 2016 top ten list are four other Scandinavian nations including Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
Besthealthmag.ca decided to take a look at this region to see what makes them so happy. They found ten secrets that promote a smiling and healthy population.
1. They love to sweat
Saunas are big business in Finland. There are 2 million saunas for five million people. The Finnish people use saunas regularly to detox bodily toxins and burn calories, while letting go of their stress and mental fatigue.
2. They enjoy bike riding
50% of Denmark’s population ride their bikes to school or work. Biking develops cardio strength and lessens anxiety. And it’s great for the environment.
3. They eat Nordic foods
Rye bread is a staple in Norway. There’s no sugar or oils. The waters are less tainted, so fresh salmon is available. Grass fed organic lamb is also a staple as is a creamy, thick “Norwegian-Icelandic dairy product” called Skyr.
4. They put down their smart phones
Swedes call it Fika. It means going out for coffee. They spend their time socializing and talking to one another, not on their technological devices.
5. They own less
Scandinavian furniture design is known for being “streamlined functional furniture.” Less clutter in the room, less worry in the mind.
6. They breath in fewer gas fumes
Denmark has implemented a plan to produce 100 percent green energy by 2050. This means less pollution and smog and translates into fewer lung problems, strokes and heart disease.
7. They soak in thermal pools
Iceland has a vast array of geothermal pools and natural hot springs, like the Blue Lagoon. Soaking in a sea of natural minerals, algae and silica is good for pain, blood circulation and stress relief.
8. They relax at home
Winters can be long and cold in Northern Scandinavia. They’ve learned to snuggle.
9. They go outside
Fresh air is important to Scandinavians. They love to frolic in national parks, forests, mountains and fjords.
10. They eat locally and ethically
Norway has a national policy which partners the government, restaurants and organic farmers to provide some of the best, wholesome food available.