How to teach sustainable happiness

Catherine O’Brien is a professor of education at Cape Breton School and the originator of the time interval “sustainable happiness. On this distinctive Inexperienced Interview, O’Brien speaks with Silver Donald Cameron about her work on the intersection of happiness, sustainable dwelling and education. She is part of a worldwide group of scholars and researchers who’re exploring what makes people fully glad and whether or not or not it is linked to strategies of dwelling that acknowledge ecological limits, relationship and interconnectedness. O’Brien’s evaluation has led her to recommend that there are strategies for reaching sustainable happiness and that it might be taught. Definitely, she’s written a e-book on it and developed the world’s first course in it. She contends that behaving in strategies that may ship us deep endurable happiness may also be good for our households, our communities and positively for the planet itself.

On this distinctive Inexperienced Interview, O’Brien discusses the concept of “sustainable happiness,” strategies she employs in her course to indicate it, and the way in which the recognition that happiness and reference to the pure world are intertwined usually ends in a very transformative experience.

On this distinctive interview with Catherine O’Brien we discuss:

Sustainable Happiness

O’Brien may also be the originator of the time interval “sustainable happiness,”
which she defines as “happiness that contributes to specific particular person, neighborhood or worldwide well-being with out exploiting totally different people, the ambiance or future generations.” She explains that whereas sustainable happiness is partly about sustaining specific particular person happiness, actual happiness should not be a outcomes of supplies consumption or navel-gazing, the place folks flip into too centered on their very personal specific particular person happiness. O’Brien makes the important stage that everyone needs to have the flexibility to fulfill their major needs, nevertheless that even these on a low earnings could also be dwelling a lifetime of sustainable happiness: “It doesn’t on a regular basis suggest being on the prime end of environmental activism by manner of buying solely pure points, or having photograph voltaic panels in your roof. It could be making totally different selections or it might be volunteering in your neighborhood, it might be rising your particular person meals in your once more yard yard. There’s plenty of strategies the place people could also be working greater at their very personal properly being and well-being and contributing to their neighborhood.”

How can or not it is taught?

O’Brien says that in her programs she reveals faculty college students their selections can contribute to sustainable happiness. “I’ve come to think about that human unhappiness is a big ecological downside and that making a sustainable world may even create a happier world. In several phrases, we don’t lose one thing after we reside additional mindfully and responsibly. We really purchase a definite nevertheless much better kind of wealth,” she tells The Inexperienced Interview. O’Brien says that in her applications, when faculty college students begin to try their well-being they perceive that their selections often will not be on a regular basis useful ones. Nevertheless she says they shortly perceive that after they alter these to “additional healthful selections,” they’re moreover usually “greater for the ambiance.”

O’Brien says the “technique for sustainable happiness” entails recognizing that we reside interdependently, “intertwined with totally different people, with the air, with the meals, with the water” after which combining that with “compassion in your self and others.” On account of this notion, O’Brien decided that one factor she would possibly assemble into her course to help faculty college students acknowledge this interdependence was to map it: who or what helps their life, who’re they associated to, and the way in which do their selections have an effect on others? She says that by way of this practice hundreds will get “revealed” to them. “I don’t want to inform them how they should reside. I would like them to search out what selections are going to be vital for them…because of in the long term it really appears to be pretty liberating to make acutely conscious selections about the way in which you’re dwelling.”

Education for Sustainable Happiness and Properly-being

O’Brien tells The Inexperienced Interview that important as a lot as her 2016 e-book Education for Sustainable Happiness and Properly-being, she began to try all the strategies by which people have been saying that the education system needed to change. There have been requires a shift away from the “manufacturing unit model” that had continued for some time to encouraging additional innovation, entrepreneurship, properly being promotion, and know-how. “These have been all siloed kinds of approaches,” she seen, “and it struck me that we needed one factor rather more holistic.” O’Brien seen that sustainable happiness was the hyperlink: “it immediately takes away these silos because of well-being for all brings us in all places.”

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This summer season season, whereas I was caught in a cloud of wildfire smoke in Washington, my fears about dwelling with native climate change, usually a background hum, hit a model new, larger pitch. I started spinning about what the long term would seem like and what I should—and will must—do to exist in a shortly warming world. Should I am going chilly turkey on journey? Stop looking for one thing? Will these makes an try to chop again my carbon footprint make me miserable, and may they even be value it? Will I nonetheless lose the problems I actually like, like consuming fruit in winter and respiratory clear air in summer season season, no matter how so much I sacrifice?

Evidently my spiraling thoughts might have gone a bit too far, not lower than in relation to the hyperlink between native climate movement and misery. A model new look at printed in Social Indicators Evaluation in April found that the happiest worldwide areas on the earth are moreover these closest to meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Enchancment Targets, which map a additional environmentally viable, equitable world for all. The targets aren’t almost land and water conservation and clear energy, however as well as meals security and sustained inclusive monetary progress. As soon as they bought right here up with the goals in 2015, after nearly 20 years of hammering them out, the UN member states made clear that sustainability isn’t solely a singular push in direction of carbon low cost or shrinking consumption. Environmental factors can’t be divorced from monetary or social points, and countrywide happiness is solely certainly one of some ways during which reveals up. To me, that seems like a strong method to try the long term.

Environmental factors can’t be divorced from monetary or social points, and countrywide happiness is solely certainly one of some ways during which reveals up.

“We wished to try how happiness, and additional notably hedonism and dwelling a full life, weren’t at odds with sustainability,” says lead author Yomna Sameer, a administration professor at Abu Dhabi School.

To quantify the connections, Sameer and her colleagues checked out information from 152 worldwide areas. They overlaid each nation’s progress in direction of meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Enchancment Targets with its scores on the World Happiness Report (moreover compiled by the United Nations) and the World Database of Happiness (compiled by researchers at Erasmus School Rotterdam inside the Netherlands), which check out a wide range of quality-of-life parts. They found a direct, important connection between a cheerful life and a climate-friendly life. “It’s truly excellent how clear the graph was. The happier you is likely to be, the additional sustainable it’s possible you’ll be,” Sameer says.

These findings moreover counter the steadily held psychological and monetary assumption—the exact one which was bringing me down—that to reside sustainably it is essential to stint, hand over stuff you’re keen on, or settle for worse prime quality of life. “For years your complete considered being hedonic has been checked out in a selfish method, nevertheless you presumably can have pleasure, enjoyment, and luxurious with out being selfish or ruining the ambiance,” Sameer says. “It’s not an either-or anymore.”

Sameer and her co-authors dug into specific particular person habits like recycling and consumption, along with countrywide sustainability metrics like energy use. They found that fully glad areas have been usually worldwide areas that consumed significantly however as well as eradicated waste, acquired their energy from sustainable sources, and minimized commutes. Culturally, they prioritized day off and entry to nature. They labored for equity and equality so that these life-style values weren’t merely on the market to the wealthiest or most privileged residents.

Italy was one occasion: residents price happiness parts like meals and entry to the ocean, and the nation is working to guard these points by way of sustainable agriculture and marine conservation. Iceland was one different, with terribly extreme happiness scores and an equally extreme value of recycling—which Sameer’s analysis found was correlated with happiness in all the worldwide areas studied.

Sameer’s group isn’t the one group extrapolating the connections between prime quality of life and sustainability. A 2020 look at from economists at Oxford and Columbia, which checked out hyperlinks between sustainability and monetary well-being, found comparable outcomes, notably when it bought right here to long-term success. As worldwide areas grew to turn out to be wealthier, happiness plateaued besides the worldwide areas made strikes in direction of sustainability, like defending ecosystems and addressing inequality. When areas centered too fully on gross house product in its place of top of the range of life, their happiness stagnated.

America is an occasion of this, which might partly make clear why I actually really feel scared regarding the future. Although we’re among the many many wealthiest worldwide areas on the earth, we’re within the midst of the pack in relation to every happiness and environmental values. We’re nonetheless consuming an extreme quantity of (U.S. residents individually use about 16 metric tons of carbon a 12 months, and the U.N. says it should be nearer to a couple) in unsustainable strategies, and it’s not making us actually really feel good.

Sameer says that culturally inside the States we work too exhausting and focus an extreme quantity of on individualism. She says we should all the time intention to be additional identical to the worldwide areas that scored the perfect in her look at, like Finland and Canada. “They work a lot much less, and have work-life steadiness,” she says. “The happiest worldwide areas are those who price leisure, not primarily luxurious.” Their governments prioritize points like education, renewable energy, meals entry, and public inexperienced areas.

A large part of meeting the United Nations’ sustainability goals worldwide entails systemic movement by authorities, companies, and financial institutes. That doesn’t suggest persons are powerless. You presumably can lobby your metropolis or metropolis authorities for additional parks and better transit, and your state reps and Congress members for clear energy infrastructure. You presumably can personally assist the sustainable practices that ship you pleasure—resembling serving to assemble trails, consuming native meals, or spending additional time in your bike—determining that specific particular person habits impacts systemic change.

Taking specific particular person movement can also ship meaning to our lives, which is part of happiness. Britt Wray, who analysis the psychological properly being impacts of native climate change and writes a publication about native climate grief known as GenDread, advocates for one factor she calls meaning-focused coping. “By realistically acknowledging a threat after which trying to find its silver linings that align with one’s beliefs, values, and goals, some optimism and goal can just about on a regular basis be found, even in most likely probably the most horrible circumstances,” she writes.

I’m making an attempt to take this to coronary coronary heart and remind myself that one thing I can do for native climate movement will make me happier. I can spend money on points I think about in, like good native meals, and be part of systemically making points greater, not merely passively avoiding them. I can work to make my native ambiance greater so I can get pleasure from it. I can try and chill out and do a lot much less—which moreover means consuming a lot much less and spending a lot much less.

Dwelling like that seems like a hazy fantasy usually, notably though the scrim of hearth and flood we’re coping with correct now, and there’s some heavy privilege in even with the flexibility to have this dialogue about personal happiness as a result of it pertains to sustainability. Nevertheless I imagine there’s moreover one factor extremely efficient about prioritizing a cheerful future for everyone, working in direction of it, and having the evaluation to know that it might be a actuality.

Editor’s Discover: On this submit, Nalanda Institute faculty Scott Tusa describes meditation as a apply of accessing our Buddha-nature, the open-hearted warmth and readability the Buddha taught is our true essence. In a forthcoming Sustainable Happiness course which begins February 24th, Scott is likely to be educating what Tibetans keep in mind most likely probably the most direct path of meditation to quickly entry that nature inside us—the art work of the Good Seal or ‘Mahamudra.’

The essence of the Buddhist path is the teachings on Buddha-nature (awakened-nature). As a foundational principle, I’ve found these teachings indispensable for my meditation apply.

What’s Buddha Nature?

Buddha-nature represents the terribly constructive info that our essence, no matter what variety of errors we make, should not be principally flawed. It is the reverse of distinctive sin and affords us the potential for true freedom.

By Nalanda Institute Editors

As a result of the 12 months entails an in depth , we’d want to take the time to share with you some highlights of all we’ve achieved collectively all 12 months lengthy!

Late Winter. We launched in 2019 with a trifecta of inspiring applications and trainings: Yoga, Ideas & Spirit Teaching, Sustainable Happiness Course in Compassion, and Meditation Coach Teaching in Compassion.

Spring. Inside the spring, alongside our Toronto affiliate X-Hale, we effectively launched our new on-line Compassion-Based Resilience Teaching (CBRT) Coach’s Program, with outreach worldwide; and graduated the NYC and San Francisco cohorts of our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program.

The day I grew to turn out to be a Buddhist monk was top-of-the-line days of my life. If I wanted to judge it to at least one factor, it’s kind of like a wedding day, nevertheless you is likely to be marrying your self! I had been preparing for it for over 7 years, and it felt identical to the fruition of loads of exhausting work and aspirations.

When the day arrived, myself and a bunch of 150 novices from all around the world sat in entrance of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to formally take our monastic vows. After an exquisite and transferring ceremony I was motioned by an attendant to technique His Holiness.

by Nalanda Institute Editors

As this 12 months of the Earth Canine entails an end and we usher inside the new 12 months of the Earth Mother Pig, we’re fully glad to look once more at only some of the excellent accomplishments of our neighborhood. 2018 has been a pivotal 12 months by which we’ve developed our educating methods, deepened our neighborhood, and made our packages additional extensively on the market.

Extended captions and an elaboration of some of our packages and events in 2018:

On the conclusion of teaching the second iteration of Nalanda Institute’s four-year Sustainable Happiness Program, I lead a bunch weekend retreat and graduation ceremony at Ananda Ashram. Your complete graduates expressed a hunger for additional learning and journey. In short-order, we collectively conceived of a bunch pilgrimage to the sacred web sites of Buddhist India. In October 2016, I led sixteen faculty college students to India, alongside a route that is usually often called “In The Footsteps of the Buddha” as a result of it traces the ability spots associated to the important thing milestones of the Buddha’s private life. I known as our odyssey the “Hero’s Pilgrimage,” based on the Altruistic Hero or Bodhisattva thought, the Buddhist archetype of the one who strives to awaken others, and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the “Hero’s Journey,” notably its narrative arc of leaving residence, slaying demons, discovering treasure, and return residence with the elixir for others.

Let’s create a happier, kinder world collectively!


We’re the Museum of Happiness, a not-for-profit who shares the science and art work of happiness in playful and reflective strategies

Are you aware that happiness is a skill that could be found?

Science reveals that it is!

After our genes and circumstances, roughly 40% of our happiness is in our fingers. Which suggests that we’ll take vigorous steps to reside a happier and kinder life.

Many individuals are coping with uncertain futures. With despair and anxiousness at doc diploma all around the world, the science and art work of happiness can ship us much-needed assist.

And after we improve our resilience this trend, we’re additional able to help others.

Research and share sustainable happiness

We’re in a position to develop sustainable happiness by way of:

Discovering meaning and goal

Not taking good points as a right

Taking intentional actions

We’ve taken over a decade of look at into the art work and science of happiness, from thought-leaders, scientists and researchers all around the world, and distilled it into one factor truly pleasing and simple to find – and which you’ll share with others!

Our course is the correct place to debate strategies to be happier, to find them, and to put them into apply!

Is it truly doable to indicate happiness?

Fully! A rising number of psychologists and scientists now keep in mind happiness to be a skill which you possibly can be taught – one factor that philosophers and spiritual lecturers have been educating for tons of of years.

Our course will practice you the newest science and experience, impressed by our work and the work of world-leading consultants in wellbeing, neuroscience, mindfulness, acceptance and dedication teaching, and constructive psychology.

You could uncover wise strategies that will instantly improve happiness and rewire your thoughts to be happier, extra wholesome and kinder to your self and others.

Plus totally different practices to develop as you do, making a deeper transformation over time.

What does the
teaching cowl?

By the use of this course you’ll flip right into a Licensed Museum of Happiness Facilitator, ready to indicate happiness experience alongside along with your native folks or group, by way of video calls with colleagues, at your school, with household and associates, or wherever else you choose!

The science behind happiness, gratitude and kindness

The talents to dwelling a happier and additional fulfilling life

Strategies and practices for mindfulness, kindfulness, self-kindness and self-compassion

Rising your particular person distinctive happiness learning exercise routines

The widespread challenges you’ll face when educating happiness and one of the simplest ways to beat them

Advice on educating and sharing this with others


January 26th – 2nd March 2022 –

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Experience the value and information from the comfort of your particular person residence, wherever on the earth. You’ll be part of a cohort – a happiness neighborhood – who’ll share the journey with you!

Too busy for on-line reside courses? Watch the recordings of your complete courses at your leisure.

6 x 90 minute interactive LIVE on-line Zoom webinar calls with Victoria Johnson, Director of the Museum of Happiness, and Anya, our Head of Constructive Psychology.

The conceitedness and different to develop your particular person distinctive happiness learning exercise routines

Course notes and a whole advisable readings guidelines for extra learning

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A certificates in truth completion

Entry to our private Fb group for Museum of Happiness Facilitators

Formally accredited by the Complementary Medical Affiliation

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As a not-for-profit social enterprise, our revenue is reinvested to unfold additional happiness, kindness and peace in schools and communities. By reserving this programme, you’re co-creating a happier world – thanks!

Your course leaders

Victoria Johnson

Victoria Johnson is co-founder and director of the plenty of award-winning organisation The Museum of Happiness, which was voted certainly one of many prime 100 neighborhood organisations on the earth by Fb.

Vicky’s background is in psychological properly being, resilience mentoring and constructive psychology. She has devoted her life to sharing the art work and science of happiness in playful and reflective strategies with people from all walks of life; from kids to the homeless, from ex-military veterans to elders, every in London and all around the world.

Vicky works with organisations resembling Google, Monetary establishment of America, The Ministry of Justice, Fb and JP Morgan, serving to folks and organisations to reside happier, additional fulfilling lives. Her work with medical docs and nurses inside the NHS has helped them to equip themselves with essential self-care and resilience devices and strategies, so that they are going to most interesting deal with themselves and maintain serving others.

Vicky acquired the World Peace Award in 2019 for her vital contributions by the earlier Prime Minister of Nepal, and an East London Innovators Award from the Mayor of Hackney in 2020. She strongly believes that by sharing the art work and science of sustainable happiness, we’ll co-create a happier, kinder and additional peaceful world collectively.

Anya Pearse

Anya Pearse is the Museum’s Head of Constructive Psychology and a constructive psychology educator, creator and coach who brings assist by way of a compassionate understanding of what it means to be human.

She has reframed her 15 years of energy illness proper into a spiritual path, combining a researcher’s curiosity, a poet’s flip of phrase, and a comic book ebook’s sense of timing to find and share constructive psychology and self-compassion with others.

The co-facilitator of the Happiness Facilitator Teaching, she has moreover led workshops at Barclays Digital, The Creator’s Membership, The Institute of An an infection and Worldwide Properly being on the School of Liverpool, and on the Museum of Happiness. She has expert as an NLP in Enterprise practitioner, an Accredited EFT practitioner, and is teaching in Acceptance and Dedication Educating.

In her writing and work she attracts on Constructive Psychology, Self-Compassion, Acceptance and Dedication Treatment/Teaching, Attachment Idea, Polyvagal Idea, Compassion-Centered Treatment, and The Three Concepts.

Part of Hay Residence UK’s first cohort of the Quite a few Data mentoring program, she is now consolidating her curiosity in ‘the scientific look at of what makes life value dwelling’ by pursuing an MSc in Utilized Constructive Psychology, the fruits of which she shares with tons of of Museum subscribers by way of twice-monthly newsletters.