Ever since I heard about the country that invented GNH (Gross National Happiness) to take priority over GNP (Gross National Product), Bhutan has been a place that I wanted to visit.
“The rich are not always happy while the happy generally consider themselves rich.” - His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
I am in awe of the world leader who understands that ‘prosperity and happiness’ are not separate issues and who creates policy that puts the happiness of his people first. Just knowing that this can emerge alongside our corporate, profit-focused world makes me feel a good deal happier!
Over the years of practicing natural health care and growing my own business, you could say that happiness has become a central part of my personal faith system. I see it not only as an elixir that can reduce pain, accelerate healing, fortify defences and enhance longevity but I recognise too how happiness has a direct influence on my natural capacity for motivation and success.
Of course, the relationship between aromatic medicine and emotional wellbeing is another part of the story for me. In the span of my career, science has revealed much about how our thoughts and feelings connect to our physiology.
We now know why smelling a rose can make a person feel instantly more content - receptors at the nose convert scent molecules into messages that reach the brain’s emotional control centre.
When we use essential oils to work with emotion-related issues at the chakras, we have a better understanding of how high frequency essences are helping to rebalance the vibrations of emotion neurotransmitters in cell clusters at each centre. So, to some extent I consider myself to be a practicing happiness advocate too!
And so it was that this year I made a personal investment and finally made that trip to Bhutan. Call it pleasure, call it research, call it very, very lucky.... I was going to the land of happiness.
What is happiness?
- Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterised by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy
- Philosophers have defined happiness as something realised through activities or actions in their life’s pursuits – a state that accompanies one’s actions
- Happiness can be related to our sense of satisfaction for life’s outcomes, or found by transcending material suffering to find joy in the present moment
- The United Nations declared 20th March International Day of Happiness in recognition of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals
The four main pillars of Gross National Happiness
- Equitable and equal socio-economic development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
- Conservation of environment
- Good governance, which are interwoven, complementary and consistent
What does a happy country look like?
You could say that the entire journey was motivated by the pursuit of pleasure and happiness. I not only spent 15 days travelling through a beautiful, colourful country soaking up the culture and contemplating happiness as a national goal, I was also researching towards a personal future goal of establishing a mutual alliance for essential oil production in the wild Himalayan forest.
It is a source of great pride and happiness to be able to promote viable sustainable business that helps to support traditional values and lifestyles.
I came across confident, secure people who spoke with trust and respect for their leadership. I saw a gentle sense of pride that came through even in poverty, where it seemed that every level of contribution was deemed important.
I saw people who belonged in their communities, who were proud of their country; who were naturally curious about the world, about me, but who were constant in their calm and centeredness. I felt a general social conscience that was clearly focused on the collective good and with very little ego at all.
I also felt a great sense of security. I did not worry about myself, a woman travelling alone, or my belongings. I learned that Bhutan has very few prisons because crime is virtually non-existent. I learned that education is free to everyone, healthcare too - with a free choice of natural traditional or allopathic. No wonder people feel secure and valued. It was truly impressive.
I came home and the first thing I realise is that making comparisons does not make me happy! So I remember to focus on the fact that here we are, wealthy enough to be in a position of choice.
I realise too that seeking happiness is not the same as feeling happy and I strengthen my resolve to let the little moments count as much as the long-term goals – easy to remember in fact when my beautiful granddaughter is cooing up at me. Such is the richness that family and friends bring to life. I thought of them all when I was in Bhutan and recognise also that caring for them makes me happy.
I am always happy when I reflect on how much my work aligns with my beliefs and my hopes for the world - it gives me energy to tackle whatever the day throws at me. And when things are consistently tricky, I have started simply asking myself ‘does this situation or this person have any potential to make me feel happy?’ However, I still allow the unhappiness to enter in when it does come – because avoiding that will never equal happiness. In fact, fear of feeling bad – or any kind of fear – is the emotional opposite of happy.
In the end, I think the example of Bhutan is pretty perfect because while we can’t force happiness, we surely can invest in it and celebrate the day.
Medicinal-grade essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with a maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at Absolute Essential .