A French journalist challenged COVID-19 to understand Finnish happiness
As we were living the period of long awaited Christmas Holidays, there were not so many seizing the opportunity to host a French journalist coming to Finland at short notice – to discover the secret of happiness. I did not hesitate a moment when I was asked by Helsinki Marketing to take Corine (our guest) for a forest walk and talk about nature and happiness.
There was an other reason that visiting Finland in December 2020 was not the easiest moment to come; crossing the borders was not self-evident as we lived in a time of strict travel restrictions because of COVID-19. Corine had taken the COVID-19 test twice with negative result and we agreed to wear masks indoors and keep safety distance outdoors.
I could have hosted the visit by my own, but it´s not the way I want to work. So I contacted other entrepreneurs to share this experience. Doing together makes me happy and it´s one of my company´s main values.
We were four entrepreneurs taking care of Corinne during her visit to Lake Tuusula. Risto Karjalainen (Adventuristo) and Jonna Granroth (Metsänautti) took care of the beautiful winter picnic by open fire during our forest walk. Our national artists as Jean Sibelius, Pekka Halonen, Eero Järnefelt and Eino Leino used to gather together to this same place (Sarvikallio) with their families to have picnic and to get inspired by nature.
Ulla-Maija (Ullis) Rouhiainen (Ullis Travel Studio) guided us to the stories of the famous artist community of Lake Tuusula and later hosted Corinne´s sauna experience in Helsinki.
Facts about happiness
Finland has ranked once again to be the number one in the UN´s Happiness report. It takes into account factors such as healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, gross domestic product (GDP), generosity, social support from friends, perceived corruption, as well as recent emotions of the respondents, both good and bad. (More info Forbes 26052020)
At the beginning of our meeting Corinne wanted to know if Finland’s success in the happiness survey surprised me. No, it didn´t – considering the factors measuring happiness.
I was thinking about happiness a lot three years ago when making the decision to establish my own company and taking an economical risk in my personal life. It was clear to me that establishing own company was about freedom to make life choices, possibility to live according to my values and about having a meaning in my professional life.
If I hadn´t dared to establish company in a country like Finland, I would have been quite a coward as we live in a very supporting society. I have had opportunities to study and got multiple skills – so I trust that if I am willing to work and adapt to a basic standard of living, if necessary, I survive. Taking account the theme of our meeting and the studies related to this article, it´s not, of course, only about surviving in life but also about finding the happiness and you can´t measure all in money.
The secret of Happiness
Yale University has launched very popular online course known around the world called PERMA -test. It promises to tell us what the secret of happiness is. The name of the test comes from words Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.
I red an article about PERMA -test some days before meeting Corinne. The article not only confirmed my thoughts of happiness but also taught something new. Which I totally agree is that gratitude and the importance of not comparing ourselves to others is some of the basic factors. Based on my experience it works; I have been practicing gratitude by writing gratitude diary and changing my inner talk to myself for some years now and I feel more happy.
Kindness was mentioned as an important indicator which unites happy people. It´s easy to agree that being kind and helping others in unselfish way make us feel profoundly happy. I think that gratitude and kindness are related also to equality and non-discrimination.
Capability to concentrate is related to engagement and achievement. As it was said in the article, we can improve our own ability to concentrate: all you have to do is meditate. Good news for many is that you don’t have to do any formal meditation practice according to complex rules; you can just stare out the window or focus on your breathing. (HS 25.12.2020 Hyvän mielen…)
Nature brings Happiness
With the journalist we had some silent moments and breathing exercises in forest as a prove of simple, nature based meditation. We also talked about relationships, the importance of human contact and the lack of it in these days.
We really can´t replace human touch of anything but I invited Corinne to hug and even kiss the trees as it´s totally safe even during COVID-19 and also our way to calm down and get good feeling. Well-being effects of nature, such as lowering blood pressure, have been proved by researches worldwide.
Many of my foreign friends had said that what makes us different in Finland from our neighbors is our way to connect with nature. It´s something primitive and beautiful where respect and willingness to keep on sustaining our traditions connects with the wisdom that is passed from one generation to another.
Nature indeed makes me happy, in all seasons and wherever I am. My nature is diverse and it´s open to anybody who respects its uniqueness and power which is stronger than us.
I want to thank for this opportunity to work together with wonderful professionals in my last working day in 2020.
Thank you Corine for you inspiring visit in Finland! Hope to see you here again!
It was a beautiful experience to stop and reflect on what happiness really is.
Today I am happy to celebrate the third anniversary of my company Mood of Finland Oy
My decision three years ago to follow my dreams and taking the risk has been worth of it.
I feel very grateful!
Thank you for following by blog.
Wishing you happiness and all the best for 2021!
ps. The journalist mentioned in my blog will publish a professional article about Happiness in Le Monde magazine´s La Vie – supplement in French. She was hosted by Helsinki Marketing (Sara Jäntti)
And finally, I invite you to watch the video of some ”haiku” poems I have been writing last year (in Finnish). They are a mixture of nature, love and a hint of melancholy.