10 Things Bhutan Peo­ple Do Dif­fer­ently That Make Them The Hap­pi­est Peo­ple

Bhutan Times - - Editorial - BY JOSEPH HINDY

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!

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