A Sisu State of Mind

Image from ThisIsFinland.com

As the weather starts to get colder, the days get shorter and our workloads get heavier, it can be hard to stay super motivated. While staying cozied up in bed all day seems way more appealing than getting outside on a rainy day or getting a head start on that project due next week, the rewards of doing so often outweigh the cons. To combat the urge to take the easy way out of tasks, adopt the Finnish mindset of sisu into your daily routine.

Unique to Finland, sisu is a concept that translates to sustainable courage, perseverance and inner strength in the face of difficulty. For decades, Finns who are known to never compromise quality for convenience and always act fearlessly, use sisu to characterize these traits that are so key to the culture.

This engrained type of intense will power, has led Finns to benefit from the cold and prefer activity over amenities and get things done promptly with quality. 

An illustration of two people dressed in swimwear running on snow from a small wooden sauna to a lake.
Image from Google.com

In Finland, sisu is present every day among people living there. For one, Finns often indulge in taking steaming hot saunas and then immediately jumping into ice-cold lakes. While this may seem unenjoyable to us, this cold-water therapy is something that Finns love to willingly do since the shock of the cold provides benefits from increasing mood to improving blood flow.

Finns take pride in doing things themselves from biking/walking to work regardless of weather constraints instead of driving. They also to aim to sew their clothes or make their own household items instead of purchasing one already made.

There is something to be gained from putting time and effort into doing what needs to be done in the name of sisu. Unlike American culture, Finland embodies this mindset every day which results in it being named the happiest country in the world

So how can college students implement sisu into their lives to become just as sufficient and happy as the Finns? While you don’t have to swim in sub-zero levels, try the following ideas to increase productivity and boost health.

  • Turn your shower to cold for one minute at the end of your shower 
  • Skip the bus loop and walk/bike to campus 
  • Tune off your device in the morning and get in a workout instead 
  • Jumpstart your assignments a week ahead of time 
  • Shop fresh foods and produce to eat during the week
  • Take one risk each week by trying something new that may scare you
Books to read

These books offer insight into the world of sisu, giving readers the opportunity to learn more about how to better improve their person lives.


While none of these steps come challenge-free, you will begin to feel more energized, in tune with yourself, healthier and less overwhelmed. By implementing the concept of sisu throughout the hardest parts of the semester, you can feel more fulfilled and have peace of mind knowing you are living courageously. 


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