Spain Embraces Swedish Habit

The Swedish Way To Happiness

Early morning in nature. Credit: LeManna/

Have you ever wondered how to start your day on a happier note? In Sweden, a simple morning habit is making waves in Spain for its positive impact on wellbeing.

According to the ‘III Emotional Wellbeing Report’ by the AXA Group, conducted with over 16,000 respondents across 16 countries, only 47 per cent of Spaniards claim to be happy.

This stark contrast to the high levels of contentment seen in Sweden, known for its exceptional quality of life, draws our attention to the Scandinavian approach to wellbeing.

The Secret Of Swedish Contentment

Sweden, renowned for its high quality of life, attributes its citizens’ happiness to more than just wealth. Embracing ‘slow living’, the Swedes prioritise work-life balance, reduced stress, and mindful enjoyment of leisure.

Central to this philosophy is a morning routine, increasingly adopted in Spain, which reportedly boosts happiness and energy.

Gokotta: A Morning Tradition

The key to this routine is the ‘gokotta’ method, translating to ‘dawn with the cuckoo’. It involves rising early to experience the first birdsong of the day, a tradition deeply rooted in Sweden’s connection with nature.

Originally a springtime practice, it now extends throughout the year and beyond Swedish borders. The modern twist? Enjoying not just the birdsong but also the sunrise, be it during a walk in nature or from one’s own balcony.

Benefits Of The Gokotta Method

This practice, by witnessing natural light early in the day, aligns our circadian rhythms, which aids in stress and anxiety management. Sunlight exposure also enhances serotonin production, crucial for sleep regulation. Thus, embracing the morning sun can significantly improve mental balance and sleep quality.

Adapting gokotta to life in Spain or elsewhere involves simple steps. Enjoy morning calm in parks or natural areas, establish serene morning rituals like meditation, and disconnect from digital devices. Even city dwellers can create a tranquil environment at home with plants and natural light, embodying the spirit of gokotta.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.