7 Scandinavian Life Habits to Embrace

Find out why the Nordic countries rank so high in happiness.

Being in nature is one of the life habits to embrace.

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The Scandinavian countries are popular tourist destinations from seeing the aurora borealis, amazing coastal scenery, and exploring Viking history. But there is so much more to love about the Nordic nations which are usually voted the world’s happiest countries – Finland is number one – and this is not an accident.

That’s because the cultures and habits of these Northern  countries highly value quality of life according to The Daily Scandinavian. The healthy lifestyle and work-life balance is something that can be embraced worldwide because it doesn’t depend on geography. Here are seven Scandinavian life habits that you can make your own.

Practice Hygge

This untranslatable Danish word has gained in popularity. The Daily Scandinavian suggests that hygee is the essence of comfort and coziness and impacts everything from socializing food, clothing and home décor that features soft pillows, throws, and soothing candles. Focusing on hygge helps people slow down, relax, and unplug.

A comfortable home setting is part of hygee,

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Experience Friluftsliv

Friluftsliv is a Norwegian term formed from the words for fresh air and life and translates to the joy of being outdoors according to Forbes. Norwegians – and other Scandinavians – are avid hikers but you do not have to do long wilderness treks. You can connect with nature by taking walks in a park or along a beach. Besides getting exercise, spending time in nature may help your physical and mental health so act like a Norwegian and reap the benefits.

Hiking is a big part of Scandinavian life.

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Eat a Nordic Diet

A Nordic diet, like the Mediterranean diet, is based on traditional, sustainable, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients. Fish and seafood is abundant in these coastal countries and fresh mushrooms and berries are added to many dishes. According to Healthline, this health focused diet contains less sugar, fat, and processed foods than an average western diet.

Fish is a part of a healthy Nordic diet.

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Pursue Lykke

Happiness, or lykke in Danish, is attached to many different words that cultivate warmth and joy according to The Daily Scandinavian. That’s because happiness is considered to be much more than just a feeling that is to be pursued. Happiness, in Nordic countries, is valued as a sense of trust, stability, and life balance.

Happiness is a big part of Scandanavian culture.

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Embrace the Sauna

Saunas have been used for thousands of years and are deeply ingrained in Scandinavian culture according to Medical News. In fact, one in three Finns regularly visit saunas. Besides helping people unwind and relax, steaming in a sauna may ease pain, reduce stress, and aid heart health.

Scandinavian sauna.

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Cultivate Friendship

Having real friends and not a large group of acquaintances is also something that adds to quality of life. While many Westerners like to hang out in groups, Scandinavians prefer to spend time with a handful of close friends in more intimate settings. Author Meik Wiking stressed in his book The Little Book of Hygge that 20 percent of Danes say that only two people are needed to hygge together and 57 percent said that three or four are needed.

Good friends in a park.

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Go Cycling

When many people think about countries where bicycle riding is a way of life they usually think about the Netherlands and Germany. But cycling is also a big part of Scandinavian culture. In fact, Copenhagen, Denmark, is home to the largest car-free zone in Europe and has more than 321 kilometers of bike routes. Over 62 percent of the population rides bikes to work, school, or university. According to Wired, Malmo, a city in Sweden, has over 500 bike routes plus Oslo in Norway and Helsinki in Finland is also gaining traction in the number of cyclists on the roads.

Bicycling riding is a good Scandinavian habit.

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