Anyone can Find your inner Finn and master the secrets of happiness — At least, that’s what these lucky people living in Finland do The happiest country in the world, He says. But how easy is it to find complete happiness by simply booking a flight? I set out to spend five days and four nights in Finland’s Lakeland region to find out.
Before I left, I did a self-evaluation. I graduated from therapy three years ago. My friend group is full of smart women, and my family, while imperfect like any other, is loving. Last year, I explored the ranked cities in Ireland, spent Christmas in Paris, and enjoyed walking around Portugal’s beaches. What complaints can I have?
What if I? also Happy to learn anything about mastering happiness? Could I be happier? As it turns out, the trip provided me with more life lessons than I thought fit to keep to myself. So, here are the eight best lessons I’ve learned that I think can help you find boundless happiness the Finnish way too.
Lesson 1: Get to the bridge before crossing it.
My bag was a ridiculous size. It’s the larger size that airlines allow you to check in at no extra charge. To be fair, I arrived in Finland a day early and will be there for three days after Happiness Season ends, so I needed the extra clothes. right?
I was the first in our group to meet our host, Sergei Shkurov, on Happiness Week. While we were waiting to board the bus, I apologized to him for my bag: “It’s probably the biggest.”
He replied: “We did not see other people’s bags.” “So we don’t know.”
I learned the first Finnish secret to happiness: Cross bridges when you get to them, not before. My bag was the largest. No one cares. Hence there is no bridge to cross.
Lesson 2: Find happiness in contradictions.
Courtesy of Coro Resort
we arrived at Coro Resort, where I checked into my villa on the lake, which was similar in size and style to the summer cottages that Finns are known to love. Its amenities include a personal sauna, freestanding bathtub, and glass terrace. My villa is located within a pine forest, overlooking pristine Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. It was an easy place to be happy.
My second Finnish secret to happiness I learned: On the glass-enclosed balcony of the villa, I slowed down and noticed the cold of the ground on my bare feet and the warmth of the coffee cup in my hand. I felt the floating chair I was sitting on hugging me. It only takes a moment to appreciate the contrast between ice cream on a very hot day or a cozy blanket on a very cold day. We fall into it.
Lesson 3: Getting out in nature doesn’t have to be scary.
“Getting out into nature doesn’t have to be extravagant. Do what you love and do it the way you love,” our nature coach, Michaela Kreutzhe advised us when we set off for Karantsaari Island Linansari National Park. “You can go out for a cup of coffee in the woods.”
Once there, we walked between birch, spruce, and pine trees to a picnic table with stacked wooden plates, sturdy cups, and a plate of Finnish cinnamon rolls. We sat on reindeer-fur-covered benches while Kreutz brewed a pot of sooty coffee over the fire she had lit.
The third Finnish secret to happiness I learned: As I sipped the freshly brewed coffee in my cup, I felt like I was going to be away from drinking coffee at my desk for life. Although this was an experience in a Finnish forest, I can now see that time in nature doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Enjoying coffee on the patio will actually have the same effect.
Lesson 4: Reminisce about the old days and relax
Melissa Peterson / Travel & Leisure
The glass-smooth waters of the Vuoski River on a recent afternoon were a welcome sight to lake-loving Minnesotan eyes. According to Jossi Honka, our floating sauna catamaran driver and owner of Sauna Ferry Imatra Water here is usually like this.
We were there to try out the floatation dry suit and sauna (of course). I put on a bright red drysuit over my jeans and long-sleeved shirt and jumped into the cold, clear Foskie River, looking like Santa Claus. As I floated, memories of zigzagging across glassy waters in the morning mist came to mind. The last ski tour I took was a decade ago. It’s been 20 years since I first heard my daughter scream, “Hit her!” Her little hands grip the handle at the end of the tight pull rope. She was five years old. She is now an adult and has a daughter.
The 4th Finnish secret to happiness I learned: Not all of our summer mornings were good, but I chose to let the bad memories go and found bliss. Choose what to hold on to and what to let go of.
Lesson Five: Facing Challenges.
in Chronopisto spa In the pine forests of Puncargo, coach Tanya Lajunen taught us seekers of happiness Sup yoga. The breeze kept the morning air fresh, but the sun shone as we paddled out to hang our boards on a line set up just offshore. Lajunen called it a SUP yoga studio.
As the class progressed, my confidence increased. Lajunen Wheel Pose, also known as Ascending Bow Pose, is also known as the pose I always opt out of in favor of something easier. But this time I went for it. Could my Type A personality, with its competitive ways, be misbehaved? maybe. Should I spend time worrying about this? no. I let my thoughts go. By the end of the semester, having embraced its challenges, I felt like I had a very big smile on my face.
One night, when I returned to the Coro Resort, I had to make a choice. A lakeside sauna with my companions seeking happiness, or relaxing on my own. During my SUP experience, I wore quick-drying pants. The lakeside sauna experience involved jumping into a frozen lake and then plunging into a warm sauna. Requires a swimsuit (or less).
If I relax alone, I can cover my swollen legs and varicose veins. But if you’re here to master happiness like the Finns, I know the right choice.
I wore a bikini and a cover-up. I joined the others on the dock, removed my cover, and jumped feet-first into what I was told was 12°C (54°F) water. A shocked curse left my lips as it surfaced. When I got up, my smile extended beyond its normal limits. once again.
In the bright light of the Land of the Setting Sun, I didn’t get dressed until I got back to my villa. I was 12 years old the last time I felt safe in my body.
The fifth Finnish secret to the happiness I learned: Picking challenges on easy outs.
Lesson Six: Managing Expectations
From Timo Auvinen, who took us on a guided tour through the “Islands of the Lucky,” we learned Finnish views on happiness. He said Finns tend to be satisfied but not happy, or satisfied but not cheerful. Instead, Finns are warned that “happiness ends in tears.”
While touring the archipelago on the Savonlinna cruise, Meeri LaRinen participated in a typical Finnish exchange. When someone asks you: “How are you?” The usual response is: “Nothing more than misery.”
The sixth Finnish secret to happiness I learned: Sometimes it’s okay to be content with being okay.
Lesson Seven: Put meaning before income.
Melissa Peterson / Travel & Leisure
“It’s not about income first,” says Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld, design professional and business owner Tecausubscriber. “It’s the point.” She told us this while she led us on a craft project and taught us about Finnish design. Her words caught my attention as she threaded a string of sunny yellow pom-poms through a needle.
Finland is full of people who do what they love for the benefit of others. SUP instructor Tanja Lajunen loves spending time on the lake. Wakeboard reel For him, happiness is “water and sun,” worker Jerry Lundberg told me. Chef Remy Trimoy Solitary restaurant He loves working with Finland’s seasons and the challenge of not having access to every ingredient imaginable.
The 7th Finnish secret to happiness I learned: Do meaningful work you love in the way you love.
Lesson 8: Make sure your environment is supportive
During my time in Finland, I felt supported by fresh air, clean water, and gorgeous forests – and most importantly, by an eclectic group of special people from all over the world searching for happiness. There was an ease to it that felt like home and a feeling that I would carry with me everywhere.
The 8th Finnish secret to happiness I learned: Rely on those around you. They are happy to be there. At the very least, the Finns are here to support your happiness journey too.