Does the Search for Happiness Make Us Happy? Maybe.

Does the Search for Happiness Make Us Happy? Maybe.

via Psychology Today by Brendan Kelly


  • There is increasing research about the importance of happiness for individuals and entire countries.
  • Sometimes, we seem to avoid happiness by making the same bad choices repeatedly, neglecting our lifestyles, and failing to reach out to others.
  • Happiness cannot be guaranteed, but the right to pursue happiness is vital and valuable.
  • Setting the world aside for periods of time and becoming absorbed in an activity is very helpful. Happiness often follows.

Activites that absorb us can also make us happySource: Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

Happiness matters to everyone, but it is only in recent decades that public policymakers and researchers have started to take happiness seriously.

Recent years, and particularly during this time of COVID, have seen a deluge of self-help books, guided recordings, websites, and manuals devoted to the meaning of happiness, ways to attain fulfilment, and strategies to stay happy forever. There have been lengthy volumes about the economics of happiness, the psychology of satisfaction, and theories underlying the new “politics of happiness” which has taken root in many countries around the world.

This focus on happiness can feel exhausting. And it is sometimes not clear if any of it makes us happier. I wonder: does it?

Looking to Bhutan

Part of the recent revival of interest in happiness finds its roots in the Kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny, mountainous country in South Asia, with a population of fewer than one million people. Up until the 1970s, Bhutan’s chief point of distinction was that it possessed one of the smallest economies in the world, based primarily on forestry and agriculture. Economic progress, as measured by traditional measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was minimal.

In 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the new king of Bhutan, attracted international attention by deciding that “Gross National Happiness,” instead of GDP, would be the unit by which national progress in Bhutan would be measured henceforth. Gross National Happiness quickly became a key element in the country’s economic and social planning.

In Bhutan, Gross National Happiness has four key pillars: (1) good governance; (2) stable and equitable socioeconomic development; (3) environmental protection; and (4) preservation of culture.

Bhutan’s emphasis on happiness duly found strong support in various other countries around the world which are now placing greater emphasis on happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction when planning public policy. This is a sensible move: people value happiness above most other things in life, including wealth. Happiness matters to everyone. It should matter to governments too…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE