In Finland, a man catches a salmon. The fish is large, but 2 cm smaller than the rule states. The animal is released into the water. Nobody is watching, there is no supervision. He only returns the fish “because if everyone fishes like this, there will be no shortage in the future”.
The story was told by data scientist Sarah Kvori Koskinen, who is married to a Finnish fisherman and has lived in the country for 4 years. This is just one example of a list you count when asked about honesty in those cold lands. Did you forget your cell phone in the market? Came back on time. Did you lose your glove on the street? It is hanging at eye level in the same place. Did you make a purchase online? Take it from the mailbox and leave the money there. house door? Always open. Did you hear the compliment? It’s real.
“Honesty is one of the things I love most here. Relationships are more candid, they speak their opinions, there is no game. It all brings security to my personal and professional life. I feel protected by a sense of community. Honesty brings me calm and peace,” says Koskinen. .
Honesty is not just a requirement of government officials, but an idea that permeates the population and creates a strong sense of community. And all this safety is good for your health.
The report makes us understand why the concept entered as one of the criteria in the ranking of the happiest countries in the world, which Finland won, a few days ago, for the fifth year in a row. According to experts, social support, honesty and generosity will be the keys to this well-being.
The World Happiness Report, now in its 10th year, is based on people’s assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data. It rates the happiness score on a scale from zero to 10, based on a three-year average.
Northern Europeans dominated the first places, Denmark came in second, followed by Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Afghanistan took the last place (the ranking was made before the invasion of Ukraine).
Physical and mental health
A study of 110 people by the University of Notre Dame in the United States showed that people who were able to reduce the number of lies they tell in daily life reported significant improvements in their physical and mental health during that period. For example, when participants reported three times fewer pleasant lies than in the other weeks, they experienced four mental health complaints, such as feeling jittery or blue, and three fewer physical complaints, such as headaches.
One advantage that volunteers mentioned is not having to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by a lie, as people often need to remember what they said or even tell a new lie to keep the original lie.
For psychiatrist Guilherme Spadini, honesty brings good things to society as a whole, such as security, reduced anxiety and fear, and this affects physical and mental health:
– This thing about a person’s ability to coexist, a deceiver, achieves individual and short-term gains. The gain of living in a place where you don’t wait the whole time someone cheats on you is immeasurably greater.
But he maintains that there is also a personal aspect to how honesty contributes to an individual’s well-being.
– When honesty is seen as a personal virtue, it brings well-being, because it is seen as a strength of character, and it has a very close connection with happiness. “Not with the idea of a state of pleasure, but the ability to face difficult moments and still have inner strength,” Spadini explains.
The average person lies 11 times a day, says lead author of the University of Notre Dame study, Anita Kelly. According to her, “honesty is a process,” but it’s worth it: “You may need to go back and correct some of the things that come out of your mouth. But don’t let that discourage you. You’ll get there with practice and find yourself more humble, open to learning, and less sensitive to rejection.” To the extent that you experience it, you will enjoy profound health benefits.”
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