Mindfulness and Sustainability

CICERO Researchers

Torgeir Ericson, BG Kjonstad, A Barstad

Ecosystems are under pressure due to high levels of material consumption. Subjective wellbeing sought through other means than material rewards could make an important contribution to sustainability.


A wealth of research indicates that mindfulness contributes to subjective wellbeing by focusing the mind on the here and now, giving rise to stronger empathy and compassion, facilitating clarification of goals and values, and enabling people to avoid the “hedonic treadmill”.


There is also a body of research that shows how subjective wellbeing, empathy, compassion, and non-materialistic/intrinsic values are associated with more sustainable behaviour.


Based on a review of the literature on these topics, we suggest that promoting mindfulness practice in schools, workplaces and elsewhere could be construed as a policy that pays a “double dividend” in that it could contribute both to more sustainable ways of life and to greater wellbeing.