Sustainable Happiness Resource Guide

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The Sustainable Happiness issue of YES! discusses how to live the good life and find happiness while creating a more just and ecologically sustainable world.

This resource guide highlights steps you can take to be happier yourself and to support a healthier society—by building stronger communities, creating joyful and purposeful activities for yourself and others, practicing mindfulness, finding healing, learning to live more simply, and building a society that prioritizes happiness over accumulation of wealth.


:: Build Community
:: Celebrate
:: Find Fulfilling Work and Activities
:: Slow Down and Live Lightly on the Planet
:: Practice Mindfulness
:: Find Healing in Grief
:: Find Comfort through Pet Therapy
:: Build an Economy for a Happy Planet






Check out this section for resources on connecting with allies and building a people’s movement.


Voter Empowerment Training, photo by Beth Bissmeyer
Build Community

The Community Toolbox, a web resource, offers hundreds of articles containing practical guidance, toolkits, and strategies for developing a healthy community. Topics include cultural competence, spirituality, the arts and community building, analyzing community problems, and promoting interest and participation.



Pillow Fight, Photo by Angel Irun


Laughter Yoga International offers laughter yoga videos, news, information on how laughter yoga can improve your health, and links to laughter yoga clubs and teachers all over the planet. Read about laughter yoga in the Winter 2009 issue of YES!

Newmindspace, the website of Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner, offers resources for urban playground events such as “Capture the Flag” and mass pillow fights. Read about the Urban Playground Movement in the Winter 2009 issue of YES!



Tina Su, Chief Happiness Officer, photo by Jeremy Sawatzky
Meet Chief Happiness Officer Tina Su

Find Fulfilling Work and Activities

The Great Plains Restoration Council engages youth in programs to learn about their own health while working to improve the health of prairie ecosystems, and organizes campaigns to support prairie conservation. GPRC’s founder and executive director, Jarid Manos, is featured in the YES! Winter 2009 issue.

At, you can search 20,000 nonprofit and community organizations in 150 countries for volunteer and internship opportunities. You'll also find a nonprofit career center, with hundreds of job and internship listings.



No Impact Man Colin Beavan with his family.

Slow Down and Live Lightly on the Planet

Center for a New American Dream advocates changing our consumption for the benefit of the environment and people. The group runs campaigns such as Break the Bottled Water Habit and provides information on how to become a conscious consumer.

No Impact Man is a blog written by Colin Beavan. The site chronicles his family’s efforts to have smallest possible impact on the planet while living in New York City. In the Winter 2009 issue, Beavan tells us how to have a merry Christmas without the stuff.

The Shorter Work Time Action Page provides ways to escape the stress and harm of overwork, which can hurt our health and rob us of time with family and friends. The site contains resources on alternatives to current work arrangements.

The Simplicity Forum offers research, articles, books, films and other resources for those who want to simplify their lives. Cecile Andrews, on the Forum’s steering committee, appears as a “Happiness Action Figure” in our Winter 2009 issue.

The Simple Living Network offers a range of resources on voluntary simplicity, including a newsletter, event calendar, and discussion groups.

Take Back Your Time advocates changing laws to give people more time for themselves and their families. The group pushes for policies such as guaranteed paid vacation time, paid maternity leave, and paid sick leave.

Think Simple Now has articles by Tina Su, Chief Happiness Officer, on finding “clarity, simplicity, motivation, and personal happiness.” Tina Su is a YES! “Happiness Action Figure” in the Winter 2009 issue. shows how to slow down a hurry-up lifestyle by negotiating flexible work arrangements at your current job. It provides guidance on how to get approval for telecommuting, job sharing, and a part-time or compressed workweek arrangement.



Mark Bittman, photo by Evan Sung
Learn how to keep a secular sabbath

Practice Mindfulness

The Mind and Life Institute promotes collaboration and dialogue between scientists and Buddhists. The group offers books, DVDs, and recordings that examine the positive effects of contemplative practices such as Buddhism on the human body and emotions. Read more about science and Buddhism from Matthieu Ricard in the Winter 2009 issue of YES!

Vipassana Meditation is one of India’s oldest meditation techniques. Here you can find information on the history and practice of Vipassana Meditation and courses in your area, In the Winter 2009 issue of YES!, read about the Dhamma Brothers, the first group of prison inmates in the U.S. to try Vipassana meditation. For information on Vipassana Meditation Courses in Prisons, go to



Find Healing in Grief

Caring Connections offers resources in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese for people nearing the end of life and those who care for them. You can find free brochures on pain management, legal issues, grief, spirituality, and more.



Titus the therapy dog, photo by Wade Coggeshall

Find Comfort through Pet Therapy

The Delta Society promotes the health benefits of service and therapy animals. Their site includes directories of service dog trainers along with resources for those looking to find an animal or those coping with the grief of losing a pet. Read about Titus the Therapy Dog in our Winter 2009 issue.

The Good Dog Foundation offers a training program for people and their dogs looking to become animal-assisted therapy volunteers in New York and New England.

Therapy Dogs International trains therapy dogs who visit hospitals and nursing homes.



The path to a new economy, YES! magazine graphic
See YES! articles on a Path to a New Economy

Build an Economy for a Happy Planet

BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, supports and encourages independent businesses all over North America that are contributing to socially, environmentally, and culturally respectful economies.

Community-Wealth.Org provides information on community-based business strategies, policies, models, and innovations. The organization supports a network of community corporations, co-ops and nonprofits.

The New Economics Foundation researches alternatives to our economic/financial system and advocates policy changes for the benefit of human and environmental well-being. In our Winter 2009 issue, Andrew Simms, policy director at NEF, describes what the good life would look like if we became a more sustainable society.

Redefining Progress is a think tank that puts sustainability at the center of the study of economics. The organization calculates the Genuine Progress Indicator, an alternative to Gross Domestic Product that includes concerns like debt, equality, and pollution.

A Sensible Plan for Recovery, by the progressive think tank the Institute for Policy Studies, suggests policy reforms to create a financial system that supports human well-being.

The Time Dollar Institute promotes Time Dollars, a medium of exchange that allows
people to convert their time and skills into purchasing power. An hour helping another earns one Time Dollar. The website provides instructions on how to create a neighbor-to-neighbor Time Dollar exchange.

The Social Investment Foundation Forum offers resources, contacts, and media releases about socially responsible investing.






Learn about the growing body of research on what makes us happy. (You can read our top choices in “10 Things Science Says Will Make Us Happy” in the Winter 2009 issue of YES!)

Authentic Happiness, the website of Martin Seligman, the founder of the positive psychology movement, offers research and links, as well as tests and questionnaires to find out about your own level of happiness.

The Happiness Formula, from the BBC, offers videos and articles on happiness.

The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love offers articles and books on compassion, altruism, and service, and a monthly newsletter. Stephen Post, the institute’s president, provides a self-test in our Winter 2009 issue: Find out how thankful you are.

The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania offers information about the science of happiness. Research, questionnaires, conferences, and resources for teachers can all be found on the website.



If you prefer to read on paper and want to get deeper into the issues, check out this selection of titles.

Cover of Does the Good Life Have to Cost the Earth? by Andrew and Joe Simms

Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, explains the growing body of research on how to be happier. Free Press, 2004.

The Circle of Simplicity, by Cecile Andrews, advises people to simplify their lives by focusing on creativity, community, and caring for the environment. The book also offers detailed instructions on how to form and run a simplicity circle, a study group of friends or peers focused on living simply. Perennial, 1998.

Does the Good Life Have to Cost the Earth? edited by Andrew Simms and Joe Smith, is a collection of essays about how to live well while minimizing your impact on the planet. Constable, 2008.

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelly, talks about the support that the dying and those attending them give each other. Written by two hospice workers, the book gives advice to family and care professionals on understanding and responding to a dying person's wishes. Bantam, 1997.

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, by Steven Hayes, talks about dealing with negative emotions and finding purpose in your life. New Harbinger Publications, 2005.

Ghetto Plainsman, by Jarid Manos, tells the story of the author’s journey from dealing drugs and living on the fringe of society to finding peace, working for restoration of prairie ecosystems, and helping at-risk young people. Temba House, 2007.

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill, by Matthieu Ricard, talks about the importance of meditation and compassion in achieving deep and lasting happiness. Little, Brown and Company, 2007.

Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener, offers advice on achieving happiness from two of the leading positive psychology researchers. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair, by Miriam Greenspan, argues that, instead of medicating negative emotions, we should treat them as growth opportunities, ultimately turning them into positive feelings such as joy and gratitude. Shambhala, 2004.

The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, offers practical advice, based on the author’s and others’ research on how to create happiness in your life. Penguin, 2008.

Cover of In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré

In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed, by Carl Honoré, explores the “slow movement,” of people around the world who are slowing down the pace, bringing depth back to relationships, and living happier, more productive, and healthier lives in return. The book also addresses integrating modern technology into a balanced life. HarperOne, 2004

Intimate Death: How the Dying Teach Us How to Live, by Marie de Hennezel, is the journal of a psychologist who works with terminally ill patients. She shares her experiences trying to make the time they have left meaningful. Vintage, 1998.

Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars, by Jenny Phillips, tells the inspiring story of a meditation program that took place in a high-security prison in Alabama, and the impacts on the men who participated. Pariyatti Press, 2008.

Stumbling on Happiness, by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert, draws on Gilbert’s own research and studies from leading positive psychologists to explore how to attain happiness. Knopf, 2006.

Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, by Duane Elgin, is considered a classic. The book tells how to break free of the mass consumption lifestyle through voluntary simplicity. Quill, 1998.

What Kids Really Want that Money Can't Buy, by Betsy Taylor, founder and president of Center for a New American Dream, advises parents on how to raise children to experience joy, love, and acceptance without focusing on having more stuff. Ideas range from connecting to nature to creating meaningful family traditions, teaching kids media literacy, and fighting prejudice. Warner Books, 2003.

Why Good Things Happen to Good People, by Stephen Post and Jill Neimark, describes years of research that show giving and altruism can make people dramatically healthier and happier. The book offers tips and self-tests on how to make giving and gratitude part of your life. Broadway, 2008.

Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, offers advice on how to live and enjoy life on less money, and have a smaller impact on the planet. Penguin, 2008.

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, is a memoir of the author's attempt to test every theory or rule for living a happy life. The author is currently writing a blog about her experiences at and will publish the memoir in late 2009.

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