Empowering Happiness

I've begun my last quarter of graduate school, and it's time to dive into my final project. My goal is to empower happiness through living a more sustainable lifestyle. It's been shown in studies time and time again that progress doesn't come solely from wealth, but from overall happiness and wellbeing. 

I want to share a vision that being conscious, doing good in our communities, and working to live more sustainably does not have to be a burden, but can be really awesome. It's been shown that volunteering, being kind, and other things that contribute to social and environmental progress in a community can improve our happiness levels. For example in 10 Positive Psychology Studies to Change Your View of Happiness:

Evidence suggests volunteering benefits mental health and even, survival. Donating time to causes you believe in not only improves well-being and overall life satisfaction, it is also linked to decreased depression and a lower risk of dying early.
— University of Exeter Medical School, 2013

Adopting these behaviors can help us individually, but also as businesses and nations. The United Nations Happiness Project began in 2008, and has focused on studying progress of nations through their levels of happiness. It has been shown that happiness creates better productivity and therefore higher profits (Pryce-Jones). I truly believe the pitch for sustainability needs to move from seeming like sacrificing to showing that it can make us happier. How will I share this message? That is the puzzle for my last quarter. An app or game or related form via social media to create a community network seems to be the direction I am leaning towards.

For example, with making sustainability enjoyable, I love food. I love trying new restaurants, and exploring little places around town. If someone told me I could visit a community garden that supplies a nearby restaurant to help grow my own food, while getting outside and meeting my neighbors, I would definitely be interested. It's a small act, but it gets conversations started about sustainability in a fun experience that is meaningful to a foodie like myself. 

So I ask myself, what context and what experiences can I provide to different groups of people to get them involved in sustainability? This is the start of my research, and I'm excited to dive in. 

Keep an eye out for surveys if you're a millennial interested in contributing to my research!

Thanks for reading :)

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
— Dalai Lama

image source: https://communitygarden.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Jon-Petersons-peterson-garden-project.jpg