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Informing the Sustainable Pursuit of Happiness

Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study

School of Sustainability, Tempe Campus Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Private Practice Consulting, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10342;
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 24 November 2020 / Accepted: 29 November 2020 / Published: 10 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancing Sustainability through Well-Being)
Sustainability science has focused predominantly on external/technological solutions to environmental degradation while giving insufficient attention to the role of spiritual well-being for holistic sustainability. While it is important for students to learn about solutions in a time where environmental problems have been identified as prevalent, that alone is not enough. We propose that sustainability may start as a deep individual internal process manifested as a change of values stemming from enhanced spiritual well-being. The current study examined whether a novel sustainability classroom curriculum, including contemplative practices (CPs), increased traits indicative of spiritual development and well-being and happiness, which are theorized to increase sustainable behavior (SB). Students attended a 15-week university course promoting SB through CPs in a space intended to be safe and supportive. Participants were compared to unenrolled peers and completed pre- and post-intervention quantitative measures of (1) happiness, (2) self-compassion, and (3) SB, and qualitative questions investigating spiritual development and well-being. Multivariate and univariate follow-up analyses indicated that course participation increased student self-compassion and happiness, while SB was unaffected. Qualitative reports indicated that CPs led students to develop spiritual traits, a systems’ thinking mentality and an awareness of their interconnectedness. Students, also, assigned greater importance to spiritual well-being as a prerequisite for SB. View Full-Text
Keywords: spiritual well-being; happiness; sustainable behavior; contemplative practice; inner sustainability spiritual well-being; happiness; sustainable behavior; contemplative practice; inner sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Berejnoi, E.; Messer, D.; Cloutier, S. Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10342.

AMA Style

Berejnoi E, Messer D, Cloutier S. Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study. Sustainability. 2020; 12(24):10342.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Berejnoi, Erica, David Messer, and Scott Cloutier. 2020. "Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study" Sustainability 12, no. 24: 10342.

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