Sustainable Happiness

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Catherine O'Brien's PPT on SH for EECOM

Transcript of Sustainable Happiness

  • 1.Sustainable Happinessand Health Education Catherine OBrien, PhD School of Graduate and Professional Studies Education Department, Cape Breton University

2. UN Decade for Education and SD

  • There can be few more pressing and critical goals for the future of humankind than to ensure steady improvement in the quality of life for this and future generations, in a way that respects our common heritage - the planet we live on
  • UN Decade of Education and Sustainable Development, 2005-2014

3. UN Decade for Education and SD

  • .Education for sustainable development is a life-wide and lifelong endeavour which challenges individuals, institutions and societies to view tomorrow as a day that belongs to us all, or it will not belong to anyone.
  • UN Decade of Education and Sustainable Development, 2005-2014

4. Sustainability and Education

  • At current levels of unsustainable practice and over consumption it could be concluded that education is part of the problem. If education is the solution then it requires a deeper critique and a broader vision for the future.
  • UNESCO, 2005, p. 59

5. Mental Health and Well-Being

    • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder - the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
    • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
    • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
    • Canadian Mental Health Association

6. Research on Happiness

  • New field of positive psychology
  • Study of positive emotions, positive traits and positive institutions
  • Focus on wellness and what help us to flourish

7. Research on Happiness

  • What can we learn from happy people?
  • Can we increase happiness?
  • Can we teach happiness?
  • What are the benefits of happiness?

8. Research on Happiness

  • Happiness isthe overall appreciation of ones life-as-a-whole,in short, how much one likes the life one lives.

Veenhoven (2006) 9. Happiness and Health

  • Happiness is a good indicator of health and longevity
  • Positive well-being is also related to faster recovery from surgery
  • Meditation, happiness and immune system
  • Seligman, M. (2002) Authentic happiness
  • Davidson, Positive Affective Styles: Perspective From Affective Neuroscience

10. Happiness and Health

  • Happy people tend to seek out and act on health information
  • Positive mood has been shown to lower blood pressure
  • Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, Beyond Money

11. Happiness and Health

  • Happiness has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease
  • Karina W. Davidson, Elizabeth Mostofsky and William Whang. Don't worry, be happy:
  • positive affect and reduced 10-year incident coronary heart disease:
  • The Canadian Nova Scotia Health Survey. European Heart Journal, Feb 17, 2010

12. Happiness and Health

  • Happiness skills can be taught
  • Seligman, M. Can Happiness be Taught?

13. Happiness and Environment

  • Happy people tend to be less materialistic
  • More empathetic
  • T.Kasser (2004) Materialism and its alternatives, in A Life Worth Living: Contributions to Positive Psychology

14. Happiness and Environment

  • More likely to engage in ecologically beneficial behaviour (cycling, recycling)
  • Nature-relatedness linked to positive emotions and happiness
  • T. Kasser (2004) Materialism and its alternatives, in A Life Worth Living: Contributions to Positive Psychology
  • Nisbet, Zelenski, and Murphy. The Nature Relatedness Scale: Linking Individuals Connection with Nature, Environmental Concern, and Well-being

15. Happiness and Health

  • This finding that happiness adds to health opens new ways for health promotion, preventive public health care in particular. It implies that we can make people healthier by making them happier.
  • Veenhoven, R. (2006) Healthy happiness: Effects of happiness
  • on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care,
  • of Happiness Studies , 15-11,p.6.

16. Happiness and Health

  • We can make people healthier
  • by making them happier.
  • Many implications for
  • students, teachers and schools!

17. Happiness and Health

  • We can make people healthier by making them happier.
  • Who/What is teaching us about happiness?
  • What are we learning?

18. Shop til you drop? 19. Designer fashions for our kids? 20. Nature-Deficit Disorder? 21. Social Comparison 22. Social Comparison 23. Supersize Me 24. HAPPINESS. STARTING AT $47,000.* * Happiness guaranteed for day of purchase only 25. 1. 26. 1. 27. AuthenticHappiness

  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Being in the moment
  • Feeling engaged with our work, or other commitments (family, volunteer, etc)
  • Leading a meaningful life

28. Research on Happiness

  • Can Money Buy Happiness?
    • Material wealth beyond a basic income level doesnt contribute significantly to well-being and life satisfaction.
  • Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, Beyond Money: Toward an Economy of Well-Being, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2004.


  • HappinessOver-Consumption

30. Your Bliss List 1. 31. Sustainable Happiness

  • Positive psychology and sustainability
  • Individuals may be pursuing happiness without awareness of ramifications
  • Our pursuit of happiness is changing the world - not always for the better
  • Brings in concept of interconnection

32. Sustainable Happiness

  • Sustainable happiness is happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global well-being and does not exploit other people, the environment or future generations. (OBrien)

33. Day-to-Day Sustainable Happiness

  • Choices related to what we eat and drink
  • How we transport ourselves
  • What we wear
  • How we relate to one another

34. Sustainable Happiness Survey Activity Before Course Carpooling 5 Water Conservation 8 Expressing Appreciation 7 Composting 12 Fair Trade Products 7 Walking for short trips 12 Physical Exercise 12 Public Transit 2 Local Products 8 Where Products are Made 6 Reducing Consumption 8 35. Sustainable Happiness Survey Activity Before Course One Year Later Carpooling 5 9 Water Conservation 8 12 Expressing Appreciation 7 16 Composting 12 13 Fair Trade Products 7 10 Walking for short trips 12 13 Physical Exercise 12 14 Public Transit 2 4 Local Products 8 14 Where Products are Made 6 13 Reducing Consumption 8 16 36. Natural Highs

  • 7. Hugs.
  • 8. The first snow fall.
  • 9. Playing in the ocean.
  • 10. The smell of lilacs.
  • 11. Hearing my favourite song.
  • 12. An unexpected text message.

1. 37. Natural Highs

  • 1. The cold side of the pillow.
  • 2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
  • 3. A hot shower.
  • 4. No lines at the supermarket.
  • 5. A special glance.
  • 6. Watching my daughter sleep.

1. 38. Sustainable Happiness 1. 39. Sustainable Happiness

  • Walking, cycling, active commuting

40. Sustainable Happiness! Source: From the "Active and Safe Routes to School Manitoba Clean Air DayPoster Design Competition 2009, Resource Conservation Manitoba 41. Childrens Mobility, Health & Happiness: A Canadian School Travel Planning Model

  • School Travel Planning in every province and territory
  • Influencing municipal and school board/district policy and practice
  • Sustainable happiness and health

42. Sustainable Happiness and Health Education

    • Developed educational resource for K-6 that links sustainable happiness, with healthy, active lifestyles.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. Crestview, Manitoba

  • "This resource is exactly what we have been looking for as it effectively and efficiently ties together a variety of sustainability concepts under one common theme. Your opening quote in the document 'Sustainable Happiness' summed up our efforts at Crestview School in such a ...simple and concise manner."
  • Kyle Lizotte, Grade 5 teacher, Manitoba


  • Thank you!
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