Saturday, October 15, 2011

the happiest place on earth

Have you heard of this Asian nation?  It is a small country, but is often considered one of the happiest places on earth.  This constitutional monarchy measures prosperity by the GNP and not the GDP.  That is Gross National Happiness. It is my understanding that Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures prosperity and success based on the GNH.  Bhutan's culture, government, and monarchy place the well being of its people as the most important element of Bhutanese life.    

What a concept.  Each Bhutanese is surveyed and asked questions about personal relationships, environmental concerns, health, inner-self, well-being, and many other personal things.  Last week the King of Bhutan married a commoner.  Check out his smile, he obviously adores her and is legitimately HAPPY.  I loved reading about it.  This guy is solid.  (photo credit: Time)

                                                                                 I first heard of Bhutan while I read "Geography of Bliss:  One Grump's Search for the  Happiest Places in the World", by Eric Weiner.  Please read this book.  It is eye-opening and suggestive about the things that truly make a person and a nation truly happy.  I loved how it explored many different parts of the world and explained what these countries have that make it a special place.  

Of course, it got me thinking about my own life.  Overall, I would consider myself someone who experiences happiness on a daily basis.  Just before I wrote this post I took a survey to measure my happiness.  One of the questions asked if I felt that I have everything I need to feel happiness at this moment.  I answered strongly agree on that.  Materialistically speaking, I am not topping any charts.  However, I truly do have all those things that bring happiness to my life.

In my recent travels around the USA and beyond its shores I have learned about happiness in different ways.  It is my observation that Americans are not the happiest people on earth.  We might be the busiest, richest, and most proud, but we are not the happiest.  

What is it about island nations that make its inhabitants a perfect combination of humble, happy, and humorous?  I saw it in New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, and among the Samoans, Tongans, Rarotongas, and Niueans that I rubbed shoulders with in Auckland.  I did NOT see it with Australians.  Australians have to be the hardest and most negative people on this earth.  
This is the breakdown of my own personal pursuit of happiness.  

1.  Married to a dreamy guy who loves me.  Not only that, it's for eternity.  
2.  Gospel.  need I say more?

The next items are purely personal and important only to me.  

3.  Happy and healthy body.  I am hard on myself.  I am probably a little too disciplined about my body, but I am completely satisfied with my exercise achievements.  In my defense, it is so much more than a weight thing for me.  I run and lift like crazy because I truly love it.  It makes me happy and I find it rewarding.  So, I'll keep doing it for my own well-being. 
4.  My teaching.  It is so freaking hard but I feel like I make a tiny difference in this world each and everyday.  
5.  Seeing some of the world.  I honestly feel that seeing a little bit more of this big huge world has made me happier.  I love that I can appreciate and understand places that are different from my own corner of the world.  Anyone who has left this continent will understand this feeling of fulfilment.  

So here's the beef, I am happy.  Sometimes I get hung up on what I don't have and what I need to do.  That gets me down.  When I take a time out  and go on a date or enjoy a sunset or feel the spirit I then remember that my life is A-OK.  


“Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.” 
“[Happiness is] a ghost, it’s a shadow. You can’t really chase it. It’s a by-product, a very pleasant side effect to a life lived well.” 


LeashyLoo said...

Great post Larissa! Not ALL Australians are hard and negative though (i.e. Andrew). I never knew these things about Bhutan...thanks for enlightening me!

Jeff and Whitney said...

Loved this post and the one above it and I needed the reminder. I so admire you, your drive, your goals, and your way of thinking. I am so glad to call you my friend.