Finland has been ranked as the ‘Happiest country in the world’ for six years in a row and one of the ‘happy making’ reasons appears to be technology.
So, how does happiness relate to technology?
There are some interesting observations about Finland’s relationship with technology and how it may impact the happiness of citizens. A report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that Finland is the most technologically advanced nation in the world. The methodology for ranking this was based on factors such as “technological skills of citizens”, “the extent of internet use”, and the respondents’ “ability to use technology in a network economy.”
Finland, therefore, clearly has a somewhat healthy relationship with technology. The country has a reverence for nature and the outdoors and is also educated on how to use technology to improve their own lives. Furthermore, their natural aversion to ostentatiousness suggests that the fake perfect world of Instagram and co. does not have quite the same effect on Finns.
Technology is not the only reason
Finnish psychologist Frank Martela states that there are three primary reasons why the country consistently takes the top spot. Firstly, according to Martela, Finns are not ostentatious; they do not brag about their happiness or material wealth.
Secondly, Finns spend a great deal of time in nature. According to the Finnish Forest Research Institute, 96% of Finns spend regular time outdoors doing different kinds of activities. Although this is not exclusively a Finnish idea.
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In fact, it is mostly thanks to the Scandinavian concept of ‘friluftsliv’ – which roughly translates from Norwegian as ‘open-air living’. Countries in this part of the world incentivize this way of living. For example, companies in Sweden and Finland often subsidize outdoor sporting activities or related equipment for their employees. In Finland, there are national and subnational schemes where companies pay their staff to walk or cycle to their place of work.
Finally, Martela states that the high degree of trust in Nordic countries is one of the key reasons why its citizens are so happy. Research shows that the higher the trust in a country, the happier people are.