The term “Gross National Happiness” was coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s fourth  King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who opened Bhutan to the age of modernization soon after the demise of his father, Late Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary monarch. He used this phrase to signal his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values.
A unique approach to national and global development — GrossNational Happiness is a holistic and sustainable approach to development which balances between material and non-material values. The objective of Gross National Happiness is to achieve a balanced development in all aspects of life which is indispensable to our happiness. The goal of Gross National Happiness is to achieve ‘Gross Happiness’. One of several means to achieve this goal is sustainable economic growth.

The concept of Gross National Happiness consists of four pillars: equitable socio-economic development (better education and health); conservation and promotion of a vibrant culture; environmental protection; and good governance.
The four pillars are further elaborated into nine domains: psychological well-being; living standard; health; culture; education; community vitality; good governance; balanced time use and ecological integration. In accordance with these nine domains, Bhutan has developed 38 sub-indexes, 72 indicators and 151 variables that are used to define and analyze the happiness of the Bhutanese people.