Bhutan has been ranked as one of the happiest countries in Asia and the world. Despite being less corporate and industrialized, Bhutan has proven that happiness comes from a mindset, not belongings. This Himalayan kingdom, which was once alienated from the rest of the world until 1974, is a tourist hotspot despite the expensive daily tax for foreigners. Bhutan is one of the fewest countries with the youngest democracy in the world after their monarch willingly abducted the throne to promote the country’s happiness. Bhutan’s panoramic views of mountain vistas and ancient lakes as well as cultural and historic treasures fused with the warm and welcoming smiles of the locals credit the country the “Switzerland of Asia” title. Moreover, Bhutan is the first carbon-negative country whose resultant fresh air accentuates the breathtaking sceneries.
Bhutan stands out from the rest of the world since it measures its economic status by evaluating its citizen’s level of happiness. Through the Gross National Happiness (GNH)/Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH) ministry, this young democracy measures its service to its people which translates to its level of economic wealth. The root of Bhutan’s infectious happiness can be traced to their strong Buddhist religious beliefs which prioritize happiness over amassing assets. Buddhism cherishes minimalism and forgoing unnecessary desires for individuals and the common good. Minimalism translates to better health since people are not forced to push themselves beyond the norm like in industrialized. Buddhism’s minimalist culture also relieves the pressure of the stress that comes with competing to acquire more. Moreover, the country’s century-old primitive cultures are backed up by generational support and wise guidance from consecutive monarchs.
Bhutan’s intricate preservative nature embedded in their beliefs and culture has managed to shell them from the influential Western glamour over the decades. Even after opening its doors to the world in 1974, having lived detached from the world despite gaining its independence in 1943, Bhutan has maintained its culture and values over the decades. There is no need for traffic lights in Bhutan as the citizens patiently and strictly obey directions from police officers, which goes a long way to show just how contented the Bhutanese people are. In a bid to ensure that all people are treated equally, the state government offers free education to the level of skill attainment. The government also offers free health services to its citizens as physical, mental, and emotional health are all related to an individual’s overall happiness. In a bid to cultivate an environment that promotes happiness, Bhutan people do not traditionally celebrate individual birthdays. To them, a happy life is more important than the number of years lived. Therefore, all Bhutanese people celebrate all their birthdays as one only on the first of January. This further promotes oneness and shuns individuality, which could foster the need for unnecessary self-desires. The overwhelming number of tourists flocking Bhutan amid heartwarming reviews, despite the expensive daily charges, testifies that this young democracy’s perspective on happiness measuring economic wealth is worth taking a shot at.
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