The new year is now in full swing, and you may have various resolutions for what you want to achieve in 2024.

While it may not be a firm goal, a common target for the next 12 months is to live happier than the year before.

Of course, this can be challenging in January and February, as the colder weather and lack of sunlight can make it difficult to motivate and feel positive about the year ahead.

Yet interestingly, people from Scandinavia – some of the coldest countries in the world with fewer hours of sunlight than many other nations – consistently report high levels of life satisfaction.

As a result, it’s possible that taking inspiration from the Scandinavian lifestyle could teach you a great deal about living happier. So, as 2024 begins, discover what you can learn from Scandi nations about being content and happier in the new year.

The World Happiness Report consistently sees Scandi nations rank highly

The data that suggests higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction in Scandinavian nations comes from the World Happiness Report (WHR).

The WHR is an annual survey run since 2012 that assesses nations’ populations on their average life evaluation – essentially, their happiness. This is based on six key factors, as explained in the table below:

Source: World Happiness Report

Throughout the report’s history, Scandinavian nations have consistently ranked near the top.

In fact, the 2023 WHR revealed Finland to top the list, doing so for the sixth year in a row. Denmark and Iceland came in second and third, while Sweden and Norway were both in the top 10, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.

For comparison, the UK was ranked in 19th place, with the US ranked 15th.

Incorporating aspects of the Scandi lifestyle could help you live happier

Certainly, there are structural and economic reasons that will affect why the Scandinavians rank highly. Indeed, individuals can have very little input on GDP per capita or corruption in government.

Even so, it’s clear that people in these countries know a thing or two about living happier. And, there’s plenty you can learn from their lifestyles that you can control.

Find out how you could incorporate some of these elements into your life that could help you to live happier this year.

Happiness can come from placing trust in others and encouraging social cohesion

With social support one of the key six factors influencing happiness, it’s worth looking at how Scandinavians value these bonds, particularly with family.

As UNICEF reports, countries that rank highest for family-friendly policies include Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. Meanwhile, according to translation agency NordicTrans, families are central to life and culture in Nordic countries.

As a result, it’s worth looking at how you can strengthen your relationships with your family and friends this year. Knowing that you have a close-knit network of social support can offer immense reassurance, and could help you feel happier and more content.

This also extends to the factor of generosity. By being generous with your loved ones and offering support – whether that’s emotional or even financial – you could further this sense of serenity and life satisfaction.

An active, outdoor lifestyle correlates with increased happiness

Scandinavians are known for their outdoor lifestyles, with images of hikes in fjords and al fresco saunas likely springing to mind when you think about these countries.

There is a widely recognised link between happiness and the outdoors. Indeed, according to the Mental Health Foundation, research shows that people who are more connected to nature usually report higher levels of happiness and are more likely to feel that their lives are worthwhile.

Increasing the time you spend outdoors is a simple way to potentially increase your happiness this year. Even if it’s just during lunchtime on a busy day, spending half an hour outside could help you to feel more positive.

Financial independence could be a key ingredient in happiness

While the WHR doesn’t necessarily point directly at financial independence as a factor in happiness, two of its metrics do imply that this could be important: GDP per capita, and freedom to make life choices.

These could indicate the importance for your happiness of not only having wealth, but that you’re able to use it to achieve your life goals. This is where we might be able to help at Cordiner Wealth.

As financial planners, our job is to help you use your wealth to get what you want out of life. We can support you in organising your finances so that you have the freedom to choose and live your desired lifestyle.

If you’d like to find out how financial planning could benefit your wellbeing this year, email or call 0113 262 1242 today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.