Monks rehearsing for the Jakar tsechu which is held the next day on Oct. 23, 2010 in Jakar. Wouter Tolenaars / Shutterstock.com
THIMPHU, Bhutan — In a country that prides itself on measuring quality of life in terms of "Gross National Happiness," this small Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas seems to have a problem: at least half its citizens aren't happy, according to its own measurements.
While more than 90 percent of the 7,142 respondents said they were "happy" in a recent government survey, only 49 percent of people fit the official definition of total happiness by meeting at least six of the survey's nine criteria.
Bhutan's fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase GNH in 1972 on the belief that people's happiness did not depend on the nation's economic wealth alone.
GNH indicators -- as opposed to more traditional measures like a nation's gross domestic product based on economic activity -- recognize nine components of happiness: psychological well-being, ecology, health, education, culture, living standards, time use, community vitality and good governance.