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Don’t worry, be Danish by Gemma Wilson

The concept of hygge proved to be a publishers’ dream in 2016 with seemingly everyone in Britain subscribing to the Nordic philosophy of wellbeing and simple home comforts. But the benefits of thinking Danishly extend beyond interior design.

A new report (released in March 2017) has identified the top 20 happiest countries to live in, and an impressive four out of the top five are Nordic countries. Food for thought when considering the concept of contentment and the role that has to play in how we live our lives beyond the flickering of candlelight and a well-placed throw.

The World Happiness Report is carried out annually and measures happiness and life satisfaction levels in 155 countries worldwide. The study also takes in to account societal influences such as perceptions of corruption and freedom to make life choices, which lead to the US falling to 14th place this year, as well as factors such as equality, GDP per capita, life expectancy and social support.

The UK rose up the ranks by four places this year, making an appearance at number 19 in the chart, with our neighbours in Ireland entering at number 15.

However, it’s the Nordic countries which take centre stage in the findings this year, and to whom the global audience should turn to as a benchmark for successful living. While not everywhere is lucky enough to call home the breath-taking scenery that makes up much of this part of the world, and which undoubtedly must play a role in the fulfilling lives of locals, there are certain factors that can be shared.

Low income tax, free healthcare and higher education as well as excellent welfare and social support systems are all factors which contribute to reducing the wealth gap, meaning money does less of the talking. Instead, a rewarding social life is higher up the agenda, contributing to a shared higher quality of life. The countries also enjoy a long-life expectancy and peaceful politics – not forgetting of course a great sense of style!

The Top Five Happiest Places to Live in the World in 2017:

1. Norway

2. Denmark

3. Iceland

4. Switzerland

5. Finland