It’s good to be Scandinavian. At least, that’s the vibe coming from the World Happiness Report. In the report, which is released every year by the United Nations, they say that the citizens of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are all way up high on their happiness list. On the other hand, we American’s have plummeted from 3rd place to 19th in just ten years. What the hell’s up with that?!
To find out, a whole mess of their countrymen, diplomats, and travelers were hit up to get to the bottom of why they’re all such a perky bunch. Here’s some of what we can learn from how they do things.
They have a “ferocious” dedication to actually taking time to enjoy their lives. That means balancing work and real-life. Having a job with five weeks’ vacation is common, and it accumulates if you don’t take it.
There’s more paid time off if you have a kid. In fact, new parents in Sweden get 480 days off – with 80% of their salary. (Of course, they also give up more of their paychecks to pay for it…so…)
As a whole, they’re all obsessed with the outdoors. Early on, the kids learn that “there’s no bad weather…only bad clothes.”
Yes, they have a high tax rate – more than 50%. However, you should take into account that their schooling (including college), child daycare, and most healthcare is taken care of with that money. Still, would you want to give up 50% of your wages?
Either way, these folks say their stress levels are way down, and their smiles are way big. Now, let the political and social arguments commence.