Happy Bhutan ChildrenLately, I’ve been struggling with a general sense of … restlessness.  Assessing my life, my wants, my needs, my goals, etc., etc.  I’m bored and frustrated in certain aspects of my life, hopeful and joyful in others.  But what I realized was that I, more often than not, get caught up in what causes dissatisfaction.  I don’t know if it’s a human thing, an American thing, or just a Deb thing, but it’s SO EASY to focus on the negative, and lose track of the positive. But then I read this great blog, Taking Charge of Your Happiness, on Jen Gresham’s Everyday Bright blog site, “offer(ing) … insights regarding happiness in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan“, and it got me thinking. What makes ME happy? Am I happy? What’s this restlessness about?  Just how healthy IS my Gross National Happiness?

Now, mind you, I must admit that it isn’t as if the blog provided me radical new thoughts on happiness.  Bhutan is a Buddhist country and Buddhism and Yoga run closely together, at least in my world. But I liked how the blog presented the basics of their government’s approach — the “four pillars of GNH: sustainable development, cultural integrity, ecosystem conservation and good governance”.  (Now, personally, I’d think our country would do well to adopt such a basis for government policy, but I’m not going to hold my breath … yes, yes, cynical note there… )However, the blog struck me because really, these four pillars can be applied to the individual, as well.

When I realized this fact, and started to contemplate on it, I began to understand my restlessness a little better.  There are many facets of my life that don’t feel sustainable. My frustrations around my career and Yoga plans lead me to feel like I don’t have cultural integrity.  I do small parts to live ecologically, but I *know* I could do a lot more with simplification (a process which I’ve begun, but that’s a story for another day!). And “good governance”? Weeelll … let’s just say I could “govern” my life better with a little more discipline, a little more consciousness and a whole lot more compassion and patience.

Now, when I look at all of that, it seems a little overwhelming, but makes it easy for me to understand how I get caught up and attached to the negative.  The blog broke down the foundation of the four pillars into *really* manageable stuff, essentially five points (I’ll let you read Jen’s blog for full descriptions):

  1. Become aware of what brings you joy.
  2. Embrace simplicity and appreciate what you have.
  3. Practice random acts of kindness.
  4. Pay attention to the practical issues.
  5. Don’t expect too much.

I read the blog again and opened up to the fact that I do many of those things, although sporadically. (Practical Issues!? Have I mentioned my consistent habit of dishonoring my need for sleep?)  So, my plan is to bookmark that blog post and read it daily until I am once again remembering and living those steps a bit more naturally, and, hopefully, feeling a little more calm, a little less restless and perhaps a bit happier.

Now, that’s MY plan. How about you?  How’s your GNH? How do you find happiness?  Do you think the simple things highlighted in the Everyday Bright blog can bring happiness?

4 Responses to “Measuring my Gross National Happiness (GNH) … How’s Yours?”

  • Jen Gresham says:


    Thanks so much for the kind words on my blog. I will tell you from my own experience that those 5 things were much harder for me when my daily activities were not aligned with my what brought me happiness. And it’s such a hard thing to know, because it wasn’t as if my job was bad or terrible. It just wasn’t what I was really interested in doing anymore. So once I quit and gave myself time and permission to explore my passions, but without the pressure of achieving or earning, the rest kind of fell into place.

    Good luck and keep in touch. I’d love to know how this goes for you.

    All the best,

  • Jamie says:

    Deb: that was wonderful to read!! Like most (important) things in life, I think there’s a small letter version of happiness and a capital letter version of Happiness. I find that too often I spend a lot of effort/money/time seeking little-h happiness (ooh: cookie! ooh: shiny!), but I end up forgetting about the outcome so quickly. Every now and again, though, I get struck by big-h Happiness, often when I’m not actively looking. It’s those moments of Grace (big-g Grace) that keep me getting out of bed in the morning!

    Keep me posted on your GNH!


  • Hiking_Yogini says:


    It’s that alignment I’m seeking! And frankly, I’m curious to see how it’ll all work out for me, too. 🙂

    Thanks again,

  • Hiking_Yogini says:


    Thanks! I think you described it very well — lower case ‘h’ happiness and capital letter ‘H’ Happiness. :))


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