"Happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global wellbeing
and does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations."
Catherine O'Brien

The Sustainable Happiness Course

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“Advancing the concept of Sustainable Happiness for us individually and collectively is more timely and important than ever.”

Jeffrey S. Oxendine
Associate Dean
Public Health Practice
UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Lessons in SH Front Cover2
Lessons in Sustainable Happiness

for teachers and students

UN thumbnailListen
to Catherine interviewed at the UN

Taking Happiness to the Next Level

Catherine O'Brien

“It is no longer possible to imagine a future where the pursuit of happiness is not somehow connected to sustainability. As the human species continues its quest for happiness and well-being, more emphasis must be placed on sustainability and the interaction between sustainability and happiness.” Happiness Research Institute, Denmark (Sustainable Happiness report)

Sustainable happiness is about wellbeing for all, sustainably. This offers a fresh approach to happiness that invites reflection on sustainability issues coupled with opportunities to enhance our quality of life and contribute to individual, community, and global wellbeing. The concept of sustainable happiness was developed by O’Brien (2005) in order to draw attention to the consequences, both positive and adverse, of how individuals, communities, and nations pursue happiness. See the Teachers tab and University tab on this site with free resources for teachers and professors.

Sustainable happiness has been incorporated into post-secondary courses at Cape Breton University. It is a core theme for the online course in sustainable happiness for the general public.

Dr. O’Brien’s work has been recognized internationally and in 2012 she was an invited participant at the UN High Level Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing.

She is the author of Education for Sustainable Happiness and Well-being, available from Routledge:


Excerpts from the Sustainable Happiness Course
with Catherine O’Brien