by Conscious Reminder
The World Happiness Report from the United Nations ranks Denmark as one of the top countries when it comes to the happiness of its citizens.
This is a survey that has been going on since 2012 where 155 countries of the world are ranked. For 7 years, Denmark has maintained a position in the top 3 slots in this survey.
One of the biggest contributing factors behind this consistently high ranking is the empathy course taught in the schools of Denmark since 1993.
Empathy is one of the biggest factors that help adults build and retain relationships, and be successful at work.
In teenagers, it reduces the tendency to bully others and makes them more goal-oriented. Empathy contributes to the success of leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs.
But many people consider empathy as something people have by birth. In reality, empathy is a learned skill and can be developed in young kids if started early.
The students from Denmark who attended the empathy classes were more competent socially and emotionally. It helped them be better leaders and overall be more successful professionally later in life.
So how does Denmark’s empathy hour work?
The empathy program includes students from ages 6 through 16. 1 hour every week is dedicated to teaching these children empathy lessons in the ‘Klassens tid’.
This is a core part of their school curriculum where the students are encouraged to discuss their problems. While one person shares their difficulties, the rest of the class listens patiently and together they try to come up with solutions or ways to help.
Be it personal or related to school, students are encouraged to share with their peers. The teacher is there to help the students learn how to listen to others with an empathic ear and understand them.
And at times, when there is nothing to discuss, they all get together for hygge. This is a word that doesn’t have any literal translation.
It is a phenomenon that is closely related to the culture of the Danes and it can be explained as the intentional creation of closeness and relaxation.
The schools propagate competition only with the self, not with others. There are no prizes for the students who excel in school, be it academics or sports.
They rather focus on motivating and encouraging every student to do better than they did the previous day.
Denmark is showing the world how to be happy. They are not just preaching but practicing it too. And it surely is yielding great results!
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