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Bhutanese Views on Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing Essay

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2021

Introduction

The purpose of this task is to explore Bhutanese views on happiness as a form of positive psychology that depicts national progress. Bhutan’s views on national progress are not based on the gross domestic product (GDP) but rather on gross national happiness (GNH). This is the most effective way to assess progress. In addition, spiritual, social, physical, and environmental elements of health are evaluated among the public. This view posits that subjective wellbeing is more important than material progress.

Bhutanese views on happiness

Based on these views, Bhutan has discarded the normal measure of national growth based on the GDP (Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, n.d). Instead, the country focuses on GNH as a measure of national progress. This measure encompasses other factors such as physical, spiritual, social, and environmental wellbeing among the public (Bhutan- The Happiest Place on Earth- One Life, n.d).

Bhutan notes that happiness should be the priority rather than material achievements (Tobgay, Dophu, Torres, & Na-Bangchang, 2011). Is Bhutan a nation of only happy individuals? Of course, it is not; the GNH is a national aspiration and a guiding principle to ensure equitable, fair, and sustainable growth. Hence, happiness, as a national goal, can only emanate from equitable social development, environmental and cultural preservation, and ensuring a just governance structure.

Specific examples from the video were found interesting or meaningful

The concept of GNH is unique. It does not find any in the world, except in Bhutan. The country aims to advance good governance, equitable social development, environmental and cultural preservation through GNH. The happiness and prosperity of every citizen are considered as worth more than any economic achievement (Vorster, 2012).

Environment preservation is imperative in Bhutan. The country is currently carbon negative, with over 70% of forest cover. People understand the role of the natural environment in their lives. Conservation efforts are vital, but these efforts occur at the expense of economic prosperity, which is not important in this country.

Bhutanese believe in good governance to achieve happiness. Good governance is guided by the happiness of the people. In addition, people are encouraged to take part in ongoing changes.

The country believes in sustainable development. It provides free education and healthcare for increased standards of living. Only sustainable development can promote the effective use of current resources and guarantee availability for the future generation. Equality drives sustainable development in this tiny country, and it ensures that every member of the nation benefits from natural resources.

The contrast of “Good life” as reflected in Bhutanese and American culture

The so-called ‘good life’ in Bhutan is derived from the philosophy of the GNH index. Material gains and money are not considered important. In fact, 95% of Bhutanese claims to be ‘very happy’ with their lives. They consider money as a means and not the end. This reflects oddity in a capitalist world like America, in which amassing material wealth is the goal of most citizens.

The country has developed a national policy as a methodical tool for pursuing happiness at all costs. Happiness in the US is not a matter of national concern but simply considered as a sub-factor of subjective wellbeing.

About 80% of Bhutanese people work on the land, but they still manage to be happy. Perhaps deep belief systems in spiritual, social, physical, and environmental health among Bhutanese contribute to a unique lifestyle and good life in the country.

Individuality alongside the materialistic life of Americans cannot be compared with the collective responsibility of Bhutan, where systems are designed to complement each other with the purpose of promoting physical and mental well-being and, by extension to achieve the overall goal of happiness.

Conclusion

This task-focused on evaluating the concept of happiness from a Bhutanese point of view. It is unique and perhaps one of its kind in the world. GDP is rather not important than GNH. As a result, GNH is the measure of national progress and not material gains.

Happiness, as a core part of positive psychology, remains the ultimate goal for Bhutanese. The systems are therefore designed to ensure equality, good governance, environmental and cultural preservation, and spiritual wellbeing.

References

Bhutan- The Happiest Place on Earth- One Life. (n.d) Web.

. (n.d). Web.

Tobgay, T., Dophu, U., Torres, C. E., & Na-Bangchang, K. (2011). . Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 4, 293—298. Web.

Vorster, S. (2012). GNH, EI and the well-being of Nations: Lessons for public policymakers, with specific reference to the happiness dividend of tourism. Journal of Bhutan Studies, 27, 15-33.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Bhutanese Views on Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing'. 22 April.

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