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Saturday, July 20, 2024

I went to Finland to find a way to be happy. Here’s what I learned.

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Finnish Axo Heart.
axo heart

  • Axo Hart attended Visit Finland’s Happiness Masterclass in June.
  • This course sent foreigners to the country and taught them how to be happy like Finns.
  • Hart said she learned how to connect with nature and appreciate what she has.

This essay is based on a conversation with Axo Heart, who participated in Visit Finland’s Happiness Masterclass. The course aimed to teach foreigners how to be happy like Finns and was paid for by the state. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I attended an all-expenses paid happiness masterclass in Finland this summer. One of the biggest lessons I learned was the importance of being grateful for what I have.

The Happiness Course was set up at Kuru Resort in Finland’s Lake District. We lived in a wonderful little cabin with a spa and sauna, surrounded by woods and a beautiful lake.

Each day of the course had a central theme such as nature, lifestyle, food, health and well-being, and design. We spent every day with expert coaches who ran classes covering these subjects.

connect with nature

Another important point for me was how important Finland’s connection to nature is. When I returned to the UK, I also incorporated an indoor plant garden.

Axo Heart’s indoor plant forest in London.
axo heart

Living in London, I felt disconnected from nature. In big cities, you don’t connect with the natural environment, so meditating or just being quiet in the woods can be very calming and tranquil. This will give you an opportunity to look back and think about the past, something you don’t usually have the opportunity to do.

Before the trip, I wasn’t a yoga or meditation person at all. My mind was constantly racing. As a content creator, I’m always trying to be on trend or on my phone so much that I barely have a moment to sit still.

The sauna culture was also strange if you weren’t used to it.

Everyone goes to the sauna at least once in the morning or evening. It’s a great place to have conversations and reconnect with people. The cabin also had a private sauna, which was comfortable for those not used to it.

sense of community

One day, we went foraging and fishing on our own in a secluded area with one of our instructors. I think we’ve become so caught up in technology that we’ve lost the physical relationship with things like food.

In a way, no matter how big you are, you’re still producing food for the whole community, which feels good. It’s a way to feel like you’re giving back to your community.

Akso Heart and other participants of the master class
axo heart

I also didn’t expect to learn about design in the happiness course, but once you go there, you understand. I am currently practicing some of these at home.

Simplicity and self-sufficiency

One of the people running the session gave us a wilderness guide and showed us how they live in a remote area using only a very basic old phone. He took everything back to basics, and he seemed very happy with his life.

I think it’s naive to say that going to Finland will change your life dramatically, but part of their culture is being grateful for what they have.

In Finnish culture, happiness actually means contentment. Because you appreciate where you are and what you have. Other countries may miss this.

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