It’s no secret that college can be a stressful environment. Students often find that schoolwork and our personal lives get the better of us. This can lead to feeling anxious, stressed or even depressed. As a student, prioritizing your mental health and overall well-being is essential to thriving both academically and socially in college. But, how can we control our stressors?
The World Happiness Report (WHR) shows that Norway, Sweden and Finland have long been known to have the happiest citizens statistically. These countries share a simple philosophy that students and everyone else can incorporate into their daily lives. If we look at some of the happiest countries on the planet, what are they doing right? And what can we learn from them?
First, “sisu”, a Finnish term which when translated means “strength”, is a widely accepted philosophy in Finland. Katja Pantzar explores this concept in the book “The Finnish Way”, which guides readers on how to adopt perseverance and courage in times of great need. We could all use sisu in our daily lives.
It is important to note that some, if not most, of the happiest countries in the world have harsh seasons and cold temperatures. Cold temperatures are something Syracuse residents and students of Syracuse University can relate to. The citizens of these countries are no strangers to extreme conditions, seasonal depression or isolation, but despite everything, citizens continue to go through difficult times.
The idea of sisu is that life does not require much to be happy. It is essential to be content with yourself and what you have. Often, lasting happiness does not come from material gain.
The Nordic countries are also known for their cleanliness and natural beauty, a beautiful canvas. Most wouldn’t compare Syracuse to Copenhagen or Helsinki, but I think it’s an important lesson in realizing the beauty of our inner circle.
This mindset can be applied to the city of Syracuse, the SU campus, or even your dorm. It is important to respect the collective space and its natural beauty because we are not getting another Earth. It can be organizing, picking up trash, drawing, painting, self-care, positive affirmations, etc. – anything to add beauty to your personal life.
Wellness days have also been a necessary addition to the League way of life. The human body needs rest from its physical and mental excursions. While it is important to embrace sisu and be persistent, it is also necessary to take breaks. Don’t forget to take time off. Places like Norway, Sweden and Finland have easy access to help, both physical and mental. Nordic countries often have more time to spend outside the workplace. I think SU could improve by providing higher quality and more easily accessible care to students and faculty who may need it.
A common Finnish ritual is to spend time in a self-contained indoor sauna. Typically, the indoor sauna can be used as a meeting place for much-needed after-work bonding, for drinks, or to share stories. Often you leave your social status, political beliefs, and prejudices at the door, allowing you to make real connections and better accept yourself and others.
As a community, it is important to consider these suggestions to improve overall well-being. Whether it’s a Nordic country or the SU campus, students should practice sisu while remembering to take breaks for their mental and physical health. The League must also help us in the fight to help make our “canvas”, our campus, more united.
Aiden Walsh is a freshman majoring in finance. His column appears every two weeks. He can be reached at [email protected].
Published on February 8, 2022 at 00:20