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You might want to add 2018’s just-named happiest country in the world to your travel bucket list


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Photo: Stocksy/Bruce and Rebecca Meissner

If you’re already doing the legwork to plan a big trip (though, Anthony Bourdain suggests you might want to chill out on the over-scheduling front), why not visit someplace on your bucket list that’s also happiness-inducing? On this year’s just-released World Happiness Report, an annual global survey that analyzes the state of happiness, Finland nabbed the number-one spot. And TBH, Kuusamo, the city in Finland that’s home to a dreamy sauna tour, alone could have earned the Finnish this feel-good award, but the dreamy country has even more to offer.

The study, conducted by the United Nations, ranked 156 countries on happiness levels using data from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015 to 2017. The polls ask citizens to weigh in on factors including income, social support, life expectancy, freedom, trust, and generosity. You know, all the feel-good criteria.

Rounding out the top 10 list (in descending order) were Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia. (Sadly, the United States dropped four places on the list this year, from 14th to 18th, #sigh).

“The most important building blocks for a happy society are democracy, equality, good education, and high-quality child care, as well as taking care of each other. These values are very important for Finns.” – Finnish Ambassador Päivi Luostarinen

But based on Finnish Ambassador Päivi Luostarinen’s remarks during a recent Huffington Post interview, it sounds like the country took top place for good reason. “The most important building blocks for a happy society are democracy, equality, good education, and high-quality child care, as well as taking care of each other. These values are very important for Finns,” she said.

The leader added that natives also have an up-close and personal relationship with nature—which has been linked with body positivity—and since the country is home to the densest forests in the world, you might just want to add a forest-bathing sesh to your itinerary. Who knows? Maybe you’ll emerge with a new, happiness-fueled pep in your step.

Here’s how US cities stack up on the happiness scale, and here are four (super-sneaky) ways you might be sabotaging your own happiness

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