Finland Tops World Happiness Report for Fifth Time in a Row

For the fifth year in a row, Finland landed the #1 ranking as the happiest country in the world in the 2022 World Happiness Report. And it’s in good company with other Nordic companies appearing in the top 8. It’s an interesting time to be thinking about happiness as the world faces distressing challenges such as COVID recovery and war. Perhaps by exploring the elements that contribute to this ranking, some light can be shed on how to build happiness in other countries—their structures, policies and actions.

The report—now in its tenth year—comes out of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. And while the topic might seem “light”, this group takes data gathering seriously. The report relies on global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries around the world.

Top 10 Happiest Countries in the World

According to the report rankings, the top 10 countries are as follows:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. The Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand
    (Canada lands at 15)

What Goes into the Ranking?

The report measures well-being based on three factors: life evaluations, positive emotions and negative emotions, paying specific attention to daily emotions. It looks at data from the Gallup World Poll, which asks people to evaluate their current life, from 10 to zero, with 10 being the best possible life, and zero being the worst.

The study maps average life evaluation per country and explains the results by six factors: dystopia, perceptions of corruption, generosity, freedom to make life changes, life expectancy, social support and GDP per capita. It aims to measure overall contentedness with life while at the same, comparing it to data gathered in previous years. Three years of data go into the calculations – the 2022 edition used answers from 2019 to 2021 to calculate the 2022 rankings.

Photo by Eric Ward

Can Happiness be “Structured” into Place?

The report claims there are identifiable key determinants of wellbeing that can inform the policies that countries, cities and town create to help achieve happier societies. People in Finland and elsewhere understand that contentment and satisfaction don’t just occur. You have to construct and maintain the culture and the social institutions that form the basis and framework for individuals and communities to build their happiness.

For example, Finland with the rest of the Nordics supports democratic governance and human rights. Education and healthcare are available for free, or nominal cost. They also know that balance is part of the happiness equation: in one section of the report, researchers examine data from a separate global survey about balance and harmony to look at how they relate to happiness. In that survey, 90.4 percent of Finnish respondents deemed their lives to be “in balance,” a top result matched only by Malta. Many in Finland see access to parks and wilderness as an important part of their lives. We also know that many in the Finnish culture prioritize wellness, community, and of course spend a lot of time in the sauna!

finnish people prioritize wellness and sauna

Factoring Values into the Picture

Finland’s repeated success in the World Happiness Report can be attributed to factors that show up in other reports, indexes and international comparisons. Finland is considered the world’s most stable and least corrupt country, ranks highly in good governance and in political and civil freedom and ranks second in press freedom, second in gender equality, third in children’s rights and fourth in education. It tops the Sustainable Development Index and the Work-Life Balance Index, and places third in the EU Social Justice Index. Finland is also the EU country where people express the most trust in each other.

It’s difficult to process happiness when tragically unhappy things are occurring in the world, and Finland faces its own challenges this year on the global stage. The World Happiness Report offers a moment to glimpse what happiness can mean to a nation or a people, and provides an annual opportunity to think about the elements that shape it. We hope, for other nations too.

Better than book club! Bring your bathing suit. Turning every Wednesday night into Women’s Night.


We’re setting aside one night a week to offer women-only urban wellness inspired by the classic Scandinavian sauna tradition. A chance to decompress and relax in the middle of the week with female-only time in the spa. Join us for our signature, self-directed 2 hour Nordic Circuit, some great tunes, and in future – options to chat with a women’s wellness expert after the circuit. Another important part of Wellness Wednesdays for Women is giving back. A portion of WWW circuit sales are donated to  local charities working to improve the lives of women and girls. 

women only spa use Victoria BC


RITUAL Nordic Spa, Victoria’s newly opened modern sauna house located downtown at 989 Johnson Street. RITUAL reimagines the hot/cold/relax circuit for our busy lives, by offering a modern sauna experience in a delightfully unpretentious, urban setting. Bathing suits required: we follow a “suits on, phones off” policy. 


Each Wednesday evening from 5-9 pm, starting March 16. Reservations required. Online booking for the 2 hour Nordic Circuit available on the half hour, with the last booking time at 7:00pm. Four spaces available in each “wave.” Book for a group or yourself – solo visitors welcome. 


Open to women 18 and older, including those who identify as female (includes cis and trans individuals identifying as female). We have three changerooms, towels, water, lockers, plus robe and sandals, if desired. 


We’ve heard from you that Victoria needs more lovely spaces where women of all cultures can relax together, in the name of wellness. (We’re inspired by Crystal Pool, where they’ve been offering women-only swim slots for years.) In European cultures, women have gathered in the spa for centuries. Whether for cultural preference, personal comfort, or a chance to socially connect with other women – we think it’s a new Ritual worth trying in Victoria.  

RITUAL Nordic Spa aims to provide a comfortable, welcoming environment for women / those who identify as women, to experience the Nordic spa circuit, and reduce barriers or concerns when trying something new. As part of creating this space, we maintain an atmosphere of body neutrality: the growing movement that believes the best life is one lived without having to think too much about our bodies one way or another, positive or negative. Every body is amazing. Guests focus instead on health, wellness, and how great the feeling can be, when you move through the hot+cold+relax cycle of the Nordic Circuit.

outdoor spa patio with firetable for Ritual Nordic Spa guests

The RITUAL Nordic Circuit starts at $59 for a mid-week visit or $69 on weekends. Regular guests can choose one of the series passes starting at $160 for three visits or a monthly Cold Plunge Club special at $184/month. 

Check out our hours of operation and book online, or for more information call 778-440-9009.
RITUAL Nordic Spa observes all provincial public health guidelines. Guests require proof of vaccination, and all staff and guests follow current guidelines. Read our policies.