Since 2007, America has dropped from the 3rd happiest country to the 19th, the OECD reports. The same can’t be said for Denmark, which has consistently stayed at the top of the ranks. Oh, and by the way, Denmark is also considered one of the best places to work. Clearly the Danes know something about well-being the rest of us need to know. 

So what’s the answer? The CPHPost notes that empathy plays a major role in Danish happiness. Denmark has consistently held high empathy levels amongst their population, while Americans’ empathy levels have reportedly dropped by up to 50 percent in the last 30 years.

Danes maintain high empathy levels by incorporating it into their school curriculum, writer Jessica Alexandra notes. They do so by instilling practices of teamwork and “co-operative learning.” Co-operative learning is the concept of mixing children of varying strengths and weaknesses and having them work together on their assignments. This method not only fosters an environment of better learning but also allows the students to understand one another on a deeper level and therefore increases their empathy.

The message is a global one: bake in empathy into a society, gain happiness. From Scandinavia out to the world.