Happiness in Finland




faintly come out happy/happier/happiest
rate confound ridiculous
earth possibly hold/held/held (2)
rank income demoralize
Nordic pretend contribute
list wonder determined
reign square (3) stand/stood/stood
joy spirit (2) low/lower/lowest
sort of sucks (2) grow up (2)
sullen sense (2) satisfaction
broad partially institution
trust scale (3) well-being
title (2) support life expectancy
welfare score (2) contribute
define content on the whole
predict measure impoverish
prefer get rid of particularly
treat separate meaningful
factor battle (2) spend/spent/spent
grim literally particularly
suspect pretty (2) translation






It seems faintly ridiculous that Finland would rate as the happiest place on earth . . . but for reasons that even confounded Finns, the United Nations 2018 World Happiness Report ranked the Nordic nation number one.

The next list comes out tomorrow — meeting today is possibly the last day that Finland holds the title.

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We visited the reigning champions of joy to see what makes them so happy.

Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “Are you happy?
Finnish Resident on the Street, one: “. . . Uh . . .”
Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “Did you see this story?”
Finnish Resident on the Street, one: “Yes, I see this many times . . . I wonder why actually.

Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “I’m like literally about to kill myself standing in the square for like 20 minutes.”

Finnish Resident on the Street, two: “These are kind of a hard country — especially at autumn and winter. So I mean it takes a lot of . . . something in our spirit to be able to live.”

Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “This is not working out!”

Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “Explain to the Finnish person to me — the finished quality.”
Cafe Patron: “Well, quite quiet. We are quite serious. We like to spend time alone.”
Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “Suicide rates kind of high here?”
Cafe Patron: “But it’s lower, every year.”

Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “And you like living here?”
Store Clerk: “Well sometimes?”
Michael Moynihan, Journalist: “What do you mean, ‘sometimes?’”
Store Clerk: “If you come over here in the summertime, everybody’s much more open and happier . . . And now in the winter time when it’s dark and rainy — it sucks.”

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So how do Finns battle this demoralizing weather, in a country that’s drenched in darkness half the year?

Well they just pretend to do happy, summer things.

Michael Moynihan, Reporter: “That’s not warm enough!”
Swimmer in a Pool, one: “Everyone always thinks about you know that you know the darkness and how difficult it must be . . . but when you actually grow up here, you just sort of learn to live with it.”

Michael Moynihan, Reporter: “But that’s rather different than being happy about it, isn’t it?”
Swimmer in a Pool, two: “When I seen the reviews with the happiest place in the world is, it’s quite hard for me to understand, yeah.”

The masses might seem sullen, but Finnish happiness researcher Frank Martella thinks the country’s top ranking makes a certain amount of sense.

Frank Martela, Well-Being Researcher: “They are measured like life satisfaction and we know from research like that the factors like how wealthy are the countries, and also like how broad the social network system is, and how much people’s trust in the institution, and what is the situation with the democracy; these factors tend to predict like high life satisfaction.”

Countries that scored high on income life expectancy and social support, all which contribute to one’s sense of well-being, have topped the list for several years running; in other words if you live in a Nordic welfare state, the UN suspects you’re probably happy.

Frank Martela, Well-Being Researcher: “One way of defining, measuring happiness about life satisfaction, how satisfied are you with your life on the whole. And intentional measures Finland seems to be in the top.

But then when you measure happiness as positive emotions, like joy joyfulness, and how much do you smile every day, and so forth.”

Journalist: “Where is Finland on that scale?”
Frank Martela, Well-Being Researcher: “Not close to the top at all.”

At the top of that scale are cheerful if impoverished Latin-American countries like Paraguay and Guatemala.

Frank Martela, Well-Being Researcher: “The problem is the word happiness as everybody seems to define it in different ways.

As a researcher, I said that we should get rid of the word “happiness”.

Reporter: “What term would you prefer is used?”
Frank Martela, Well-Being Researcher: “I would prefer that we have like a few separate words like positive emotions, life satisfaction, meaningfulness, and treat them as three separate things.

When you walk on the streets in Finland, people don’t seem to be particularly happy. And I was actually thinking that that might like actually contribute positively to our sense of satisfaction, because like we know that when we think about our happiness or when we judge our own lives we are quite as comparing us to the other people.

So if you live among people where everybody’s not advertising their own happiness, like telling everyone, ‘Look at me, how happy I am,’ that might actually make you like more sad.”

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So after spending some time in Finland I’ve determined that the UN is partially right: this country is not particularly happy; that to me was pretty grim.

But well they’re probably not the happiest people on the planet, I think they’re the most content people in the planet. That’s Finland is: it’s not happy. This is the wrong word; it’s a bad translation . . . right?

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Finland. No one is surprised that Finland is the happiest country on earth. Everyone knows and believes Finns are the happiest people in the world. True or false?

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. In January, is Finland a nice, pleasant place to live and visit?

Sweden, Norway, Denmark. Are Finnish people very talkative, jocular, emotional and sociable?

Iceland. Do the Finns love long, cold, dark weather? How do they cope with long, dark, cold winters?

The Netherlands, Belgium. According to experts, Finnish people are happy because they always party, listen to great music, sing, dance and eat delicious food. Is this right or wrong?

Switzerland, Austria, Germany. Is there only one type of “happiness”? Does “happiness” have only one meaning?

Great Britain, Ireland. What are the conclusions of happiness scholar and the journalist?
France. How happy are you and your friends? I am a) ecstatic and blissful. b) very happy. c) generally happy d) fairly happy. e) so-so, in the middle. f) happy sometimes. g) not too happy h) miserable, depressed.

Spain, Portugal. Is there a region of your country where people are very happy? What nations do you think are very happy?

Poland. Who in society are the happiest, eg rich people, middle-class, working-class, poor people; men, women, children, teens, high-schoolers, university students, young adults, middle-aged people, senior citizens (old people), pensioners, engineers, farmers, artists, musicians, writers, government workers, actors, athletes, pop singers, celebrities, politicians?

Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia. Who if anyone are the least happy or the saddest, most depressed?

Romania, Bulgaria. How can people become happier?

Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia. What might happen in the future?

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