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Informing the Sustainable Pursuit of Happiness
Article

Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study

1
School of Sustainability, Tempe Campus Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
2
Private Practice Consulting, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10342; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410342
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. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410342

AMA Style

Berejnoi E, Messer D, Cloutier S. Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study. Sustainability. 2020; 12(24):10342. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410342

Chicago/Turabian Style

Berejnoi, Erica; Messer, David; Cloutier, Scott. 2020. "Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study" Sustainability 12, no. 24: 10342. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410342

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