The 4 Principles That Make Scandinavians the Happiest in the World
Studies of the state of global happiness from recent years show Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as the world’s happiest nations. Scandinavians follow a set of rules thanks to which they enjoy life every single day.
We at Bright Side decided to find out more about this, and it seems everyone has something to learn from these joyful nations.
1. Modesty and respect for others
In Nordic countries there is The Law of Jante, a set of rules that underline behavior toward individuals:
- You’re not to think you are anything special.
- You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
- You’re not to laugh at us.
- You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
- You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
Although Scandinavians themselves occasionally make fun of this law, it helps to create an extremely friendly and cooperative society. Modesty and respect for others are highly valued. Moreover, this law discourages people from being arrogant and boastful.
2. Balancing work and family life
Scandinavians know how important it is to devote time to family. Most offices in Denmark close at 5 p.m. Moreover, Danes never work overtime. In Sweden, some companies have gone even further and moved to a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and happiness. Families often go out to the park, play sports, and travel with their relatives.
3. Family gatherings by the hearth
In Denmark, there is one great word that means creating a cozy atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with friends and relatives: “hygge.“ Sitting by the fire on a cold night, wearing a warm sweater, drinking wine, and eating delicious food — probably surrounded by candles. That’s definitely ”hygge," and it’s something everyone can experience and benefit from. Hygge is about solidarity, comfort, support, and attention from your nearest and dearest.
4. Realistic expectations
In her book, Happy as a Dane, Malene Rydahl discusses the keys to the happiness of the Scandinavians. One of the most important secrets to living a happier life is the ability to formulate realistic expectations — but don’t stop dreaming and setting ambitious goals! You’ll find that your friends and relatives will pleasantly surprise you more often.
Comparing yourself to others won’t help you become happier either. We tend to compare our lives to those in our social media feed. However, these comparisons tend to contribute toward our unhappiness. Just stop measuring your achievements against others’, and rejoice at what you have.