Family Relationships

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Creating Happiness

It has been over ten years since I retired from my fulltime practice and spent three months doing volunteer work and traveling in Southeast Asia. The best part of my trip was spending time in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. It was their monarch who defined the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) to measure quality of life. And Bhutan is the only country in the world that puts happiness and general well-being at the heart of its government policy. Read this article in Business Week and find out about the other happiest countries.The Bhutanese distinguish four pillars of GNH: sustainable development, cultural integrity, ecosystem conservation and good governance. Their Buddhist ideals demonstrate how material and spiritual development can complement and reinforce each other. This tiny nation of less than 700,000 inhabitants is totally isolated and among the least populated in the world. And it is situated between two of the most densely populated countries, India and China.

Some North American scientists argue that happiness is largely determined by genetics, health and other factors mostly outside of our control. Other experts think that we're all hard wired and stay at a certain level of happiness. They say that, with this set point, no matter whether we win the lottery or have a devastating accident, within a year of the event we return to a familiar emotional level.

But recent research suggests that we can actually take charge of our own happiness and that a large portion of it is within our power to change. Log on Wednesday and Friday of this week - we'll be sharing lots of ideas that you may want to put into practice to boost your sense of well-being. There will also be more terrific photos, thanks to our friend and colleague, Marilee Karlsen.

If you want to get a head start on feeling happier, browse around our website,, and read this article about dealing with common unhappiness. And why not sign our email list to the left of this post? You can download a free ebook about how to reach your goals and receive our free monthly newsletter with tips about how to create change in your life.

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