Digital Wellbeing Positive Psychology

Notes from Bhutan: How to Be Happy

During our SYZYGY field trip to Bhutan, we’ve been asking the architects and participants of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness project about the secrets to authentic happiness.

Building on the wonderful book on happiness in Bhutan by Linda Leaming, here’s what we’re learning.

  1. People want to be happy
  2. Happiness starts with intent
  3. Happiness doesn’t just happen, it’s the result of conscious action
  4. This action involves doing simple things well
  • Cultivating compassion (kindness and care)
  • Following an inspiring leader (such as the Bhutanese Dragon King – Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck)
  • Being mindful of the effects of our actions on people and the planet
  • Give before you take
  • Building a safe and secure environment for people you love, free from stress, anxiety and fear
  • Embrace simplicity
  • Respecting tradition
  • Building social and community connections
  • Checking your ego. Believe in something bigger than you
  • Enjoying nature; experiencing awe and wonder of natural environments
  • Spreading happiness, rather than pursuing it
  • Appreciating and being grateful for what and who you have, not what you don’t
  • Monitoring wellbeing – how positive we feel about life and life’s experiences
  • Promoting the conditions for happiness to flourish, rather than happiness itself
  • Experiment; there is no cookie-cutter formula for happiness

These are all values that a consultancy such as SYZYGY could embrace to promote client happiness, user happiness and employee happiness. Perhaps they could work for you too?


Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

10 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Dusan Vukadinovic says:

    I love reading your notes from Bhutan! Happiness is something that all of us are searching for and because of unimportant things we struggle with every day we often can’t see trees from the forest. Happiness really lies in small things and it’s so simple when you think about it :)

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