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Finland, Fitbits and the Stella McCartney Icy Ice Sunglasses

Drum roll please - unfurls scroll - clears throat...

This reporter can proudly announce that Britain has been named the happiest country in the world. Oh no, sorry, wrong scroll. It is actually Finland.

You didn't think for a milli-second there that it was actually Britain did you - this tea-stained picture postcard? Granted we have the British Broadcasting Corporation and 24 hour access to complex carbs, but with the current kerfuffle taking place on these shores, there's absolutely no chance.

Britain came in at a depressing number 19 in the World Happiness Report, as compiled by official bods at the United Nations. This ranked 156 countries based on life expectancy, social support and corruption and when it comes to Finland, let's be honest, it's not just to do with this one isolated country, but all those Nordic destinations.

They quite frankly dominated the top ten, with Norway at number two, followed by Denmark and Iceland in fourth. Sweden not far behind. So what is it about living in these countries that makes everyone so satisfied with life?

According to Meik Wiking, chief executive at the Copenhagen-based Happiness Research Institute, Nordic countries are very good at converting "wealth into well-being". They may have to pay high taxes, but residents feel fully rewarded by the healthy amounts of personal freedoms and social security they get in return.

This reporter will ever be perplexed at why those running this country don't just copy what these Nordic countries have done. We are also strapping Fitbits onto our children. It wasn't enough, it appears, for the grown-ups to make their lives an endless miserable plod of counting steps and regretting calories - we are now doing it to the next generation too.

According to scientific research, the Fitbit trend is feeding into people's need for self-surveillance and this idea that if we can quantify our movement, we can then use this information to optimise our performance as human beings.

We are essentially reducing ourselves to a series of biometric readings. Marvellous, if you identify as a machine, but where does the sense of self come in? As writer Rhik Samadder points out in his column for The Guardian on just this topic, this may help us to understand the mechanics, but it leaves out all of the story.

"True", he writes, "the body is a homoeostatic biological wonder. It's also a house of unfathomable feeling. You can monitor disrupted sleep, but its harder to touch the things that keep us up at night".

Mr Samadder warns that when it comes to Fitbits on children "control is only a comforting fiction". He calls instead for parents to encourage their children to be "healthy and wholesome", to play swing ball and hopscotch, and to tell them they are loved. This reporter wholeheartedly agrees.

Another study has found being in love makes you fatter. The research by 'experts' at the Central Queensland University in Australia, makes no bones about it - as a human you have two choices; remain single and slim or enter into a loving relationship with another human and put on weight.

Findings suggest the reason for weight gain is centred around more opportunities for gorging - candle lit dinners, family gatherings and dinner parties with other couples.

This reporter would like to suggest this study is less about warning against weight gain and more about being down on love, and yet she admits she has just slipped on her Stella McCartney Blush Icy Ice Sunglasses and everything is looking just rosy now.

She thinks this could be the key to Britain's happiness. Alternatively, these sunglasses do come in blue.


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