Happiness & loneliness in Denmark

Happiness is contagious. Right! Have you noticed that when you socialize with positive and happy people, your mood improves and your happiness levels are higher? Togetherness is one of the factors in the happiness equation. And an important one.

Money and health are important too. But even if you have those two, you cannot be happy if you feel lonely. Denmark is one of the most proactive societies in the world one could say. Before something gets out of control, there are already policies and solutions in place. Thumbs up!

But why is that? Why do the Danes act to fight loneliness in their society? And what can you do yourself like the Danes, to feel happier? Read on!

Alone VS lonely

Take things nice and slow. Most probably you don’t feel lonely. We are often alone but that does not mean we feel lonely. Alone is when we are not surrounded by people or the ones we would like to have around us. Loneliness is a feeling and has to do with the quantity and quality of relationships with other people.

You may have two friends only but you can talk to them, share your thoughts and they can be there for you. You may have a dozen friends but no one that close. Even if this is the case, it is ok though. We live in 2019 and help can be on the way in many ways.

Who is most lonely?

Surprisingly, it is not only older widowed people who feel lonely. Young people are the next large group. Even school pupils or students can feel lonely. Maybe they are from another part of Denmark and came to Copenhagen for studies. Or they are young foreigners who now live in Denmark. We all know that Denmark is the worst place in the world to make new friends. Just because Danes are OK with their few close friends they have and don’t bother to make new ones. But if they do, they are for life. Whatever the case, Ventilen is there for them.

What is Ventilen and how can they help?

Interestingly enough, Ventilen means “the valve” in Danish and also the first part of the word -ven- means friend. Combine these two and you got it. It is a social organisation that helps young people who feel lonely to have positive social experiences, meet new people and train their social skills. Cooking and eating together, going to the cinema together or playing board games are some of the offered activities. There are also outdoor activities or even excursions to parts of Denmark.

Hundreds of youngsters have already joined Ventilen and the majority has seen positive changes in their life: they feel less lonely, more satisfied with their lives and more confident to meet new people. Thumbs up!

What’s in for me?

Look, loneliness happens sometimes. All it takes is a change of mindset. The more locked up -literally and metaphorically- you stay, the deeper you go into the loneliness rabbit hole. As scientists say, socializing is good, we are social animals. We sometimes have to train our muscles, like becoming a member of a sports club or hobby association. Common things you can share with others facilitate the process.

Be more open and inclusive (let go of being judgemental). And don’t take it personally. Sometimes people don’t want to socialize with us not because they reject us but because there are other reasons in their lives. Same with the Danes. Don’t get them wrong. They are super friendly and kind and can become your best friends when they let you in! Patience is a virtue!