We all know that things like a decent income, freedom, good health, and love and support from our family and friends all contribute to our happiness. Conversely, we know that finding happiness isn’t easy if we’re struggling to make ends meet or we can’t go to a hospital because healthcare coverage is inaccessible.
But living in a country that prioritizes their citizens’ wellbeing can make a huge impact in their overall happiness. Just ask the lucky folks living in these countries which are reportedly the happiest places on the planet.
It’s no wonder that Finnish people always look so happy. The Finns believe that the secret to happiness can’t be found in a computer or phone screen, but rather in nature. Going for a nature walk, picking up fruits, cycling, fishing, or hiking is just part of their way of living.
Their educational system is so advanced that it leaves many other world powers in the dust. The country’s pedagogical system teaches students through experimental learning instead of focusing solely on passing tests and getting grades. And as far as the government is concerned, the level of corruption is quite low, which often means that there’s less political turmoil and a more united front among the people of Finland.
Denmark is every environmentalists’ dream country because they use wind to generate energy production which is healthier for the environment. Overall, there’s intrinsic respect for the planet’s resources instilled in its citizens.
The Danes strive to reduce their carbon footprint—which is why so many people opt for bikes instead of cars and buses. And who could blame them? Denmark is surrounded by gorgeous coastlines and beautiful lakeside views waiting for you to come explore. But Danish citizens have even more reasons to be smiling: financial stability, decent healthcare, and work-life balance also contribute to why Denmark ranks so high when it comes to overall happiness.
Switzerland might be known for their cheese and chocolates, but ironically, their obesity rates are one of the lowest in the European Union—thanks to their dedication to physical fitness and their healthy eating habits. Switzerland is also famous for staying out of the affairs of other world powers; they haven’t been involved in any war in over 170 years.
And if that weren’t enough to put a smile on peoples’ faces, the country is the epitome of democracy. Locals vote on everything from what days trash collectors will stop by, to where a traffic light should be installed. Being a part of something great undoubtedly helps make the Swiss so jolly.
Icelanders aren’t bothered by the millions of tourists that swarm through their cities and parks, particularly Reykjavik and Thingvellir National Park, which are hotspots for American travelers. In fact, there’s plenty of room as far as they’re concerned. Whenever they find themselves feeling a little cramped, they head to the countryside where people aren’t as rushed and it’s much more peaceful. Iceland isn’t just eco-friendly—not to mention their free healthcare and low taxes—but they’re also huge promoters of gender equality in the work force.
The key to happiness may not be money, but it sure helps when citizens don’t have to worry about their finances. This explains why Norwegians are some of the happiest people in the world. Their unemployment rates are relatively low, and they offer great pension and unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs and need help until they get back on their feet. Just like Iceland, Norway is also pro gender equality and offers free healthcare and education, too. And to top it off, they know how to manage their country’s natural resources as well as their economy, so it’s no surprise to learn that Norwegians have plenty of reasons to be happy.