More than 300 participants at the conference will compare countries' education levels, life expectancies and standards of living to determine how to make their people happier.
The term "gross national happiness" was coined by Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the former king of Bhutan, more than 30 years ago to measure a country's wellbeing.
Bhutan, which lies between India and China, has championed the concept, promoting a growing movement calling for happiness and other unconventional indicators to form a part of mainstream development policies.
Lyonpo Jigme Thinley, minister of cultural affairs and a former prime minister of Bhutan, said: "The pursuit of happiness does not have to result in the dismantling of the economic order.
"It simply has to do with balancing our process of development with the development that also caters to the needs of the mind."
The four pillars of gross national happiness are: cultural promotion, equitable economic development, good governance and environmental conservation.