Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a term that was first coined by the fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the 1970s. He believed that traditional measures of economic success, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), were not sufficient indicators of a country’s well-being. Instead, he proposed that the true measure of a country’s prosperity should be the happiness and well-being of its citizens.

The concept of GNH has since been embraced by the Bhutanese government and has become a guiding principle in the country’s policies and development plans. The Bhutanese government has developed a GNH index, which includes nine domains of well-being: psychological well-being, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards.

One of the key elements of GNH is the emphasis on preserving Bhutan’s natural and cultural heritage. The country has a policy of maintaining at least 60% of its land area under forest cover and is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon negative, meaning it absorbs more carbon than it produces. Bhutan is also committed to protecting its unique culture and traditional way of life, with a strong emphasis on promoting traditional Bhutanese values such as compassion and respect for others.

Bhutan’s approach to development is rooted in the belief that a balance must be struck between economic growth and the protection of its environment and culture. This has led to a focus on sustainable development and the promotion of alternative forms of economic activity such as ecotourism and organic farming.

Overall, the concept of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan is not just a measure of well-being, but also a way of life. It is a reminder that economic growth and material prosperity should not be the only goals of a country and instead it should strive for a balance between the material and non-material aspects of life, that is, it’s culture, heritage, and environment.

It’s worth noting that the idea of GNH is gaining more attention and interest globally and some other countries have started to adopt similar concept as well.