For those who may not know, Bhutan is a country in Southeast Asia that is just south of
China. The country is known for being really small and for being really happy. How do they do
it? Let us check out some of the things they do differently that make them so happy.

1. They manage spiritual and material happiness equally
Here in the western world, we put way too much stock into the things we own. We’re happier
when we have the latest iPhone or the latest fashion. That’s not a very good way to think and
it can cause us unneeded stress and unhappiness when we can’t afford those things. In
Bhutan, they only let globalization affect them over the last ten years but they have done so
in a manner that allows their citizens to balance their material possessions and their
spirituality and that just makes them happier. They don’t care if they don’t have the latest
iPhone. They’re just happy to be alive.

2. They have among the fastest growing GDPs in the world
When people are making money, everyone’s happy. Bhutan’s GDP (gross domestic product)
has been growing steadily over the last several years. By allowing India to invest heavily in
hydro-power in their country, Bhutan is quickly becoming rich and they don’t have to do that
much work. Talk about managing your resources well!

3. They don’t care about TV, radio, or the internet
Lets face it, those things make us feel terrible about ourselves. On TV, we see beautiful people
making dump trucks full of money and that makes us jealous and angry. On the internet there
are trolls, a constant influx of bad news, and all sorts of other bad things. We get obsessed
with social media and get upset when we don’t get re-tweets or likes on Facebook. When you
don’t have to deal with that nonsense, life is generally better.

4. 50% of the country is protected as a national part
The environment is an important thing to the Bhutan people. So much so that half of their
country is a national park. The forest, animals, and environment are strictly protected and the
country announced not long ago that 60% of their country would be safe from things like
deforestation permanently. Caring that much for the planet makes people feel happy.

5. They’re mostly Buddhist
Buddhism is one of the calmest and happiest religions on Earth. They believe in karma . The
Buddhist version of karma (the original definition) is that people who live good lives are closer
to enlightenment and are reincarnated as better creatures when they’re reborn. This prompts
them to live good lives, do good deeds to one another, and be good people. When people
aren’t at each others’ throats, it makes those around them generally happier.

6. They actually measure their own happiness
It’s always nice when the government lends a helping hand but when was the last time any of
us actually believed our government wanted us to be happy? In Bhutan this is not something
people have to wonder. Their government actually measures their countries happiness using a
metric called the Gross National Happiness or GNH. They’re not perfect at providing happiness
to their citizens but the fact that they acknowledge and measure happiness probably makes
them better at keeping their people happy than other governments.
7. Where they live is gorgeous
Bhutan is situated in the Himalayan Mountains and well over 60% of their country is
untouched wilderness. People go to places like this for vacation. We imagine that living there
is probably more preferable, peaceful, and visually enjoyable than stomping around the
concrete jungle that is the city every day.

8. The gap between normal people and royalty isn’t that far.
Thanks to their isolationist tendencies, the people of Bhutan are very close to one another. In
one journalist’s visit , he spied a young man playing basketball with a bunch of kids on a
public court. Later on he was introduced to that man and also played basketball with him.
Much later it was revealed that the man was actually a prince of Bhutan. Joe Biden isn’t out
shooting basketball with a bunch of random local kids. That kind of closeness between the
high and low classes probably helps everyone like everyone more.

9. They’re well rested
According to national surveys, around 2/3 of all Bhutanese people get at least eight hours of
sleep per night. That’s a lot better than most countries and that’s especially true of
industrialized countries. The benefits of sleep on happiness, productivity, and overall health is
extremely well documented. Having most of the country get a bunch of sleep definitely
contributes and having a culture that inspires people to get the appropriate amount of sleep
every night is something they do differently.

10. They have less pollution.
One of the side effects of being so environmentally conscious is that the Bhutanese people live
in less pollution than pretty much everyone else. They do have some things around that cause
pollution such as automobiles. However, they lack the miles upon miles of factories and
waste-producing businesses. This makes the air, water, and ground much cleaner. There is a
reason why pictures of untouched wildernesses are so beautiful and desirable. It’s because
they aren’t polluted with potentially harmful chemical fumes.
Bhutan is relatively new to the world at large because they chose to remain isolated long after
everyone else had integrated themselves into the world. This has caused them to have some
older values and some of them may seem outdated by today’s standards. Some of them may
not even be morally or ethically correct. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things their older
values can’t teach us!