Sustainable Well-Being: A Potential Synergy between Sustainability and Well-Being Research


This article outlines a potential synergy between sustainability and well-being research. Currently aims within well-being and sustainability research focus on increasing well-being. First, sustainability is defined and important concepts within it highlighted, that is, aims, interdependencies, constraints, values and balanced adaptive processes. It is suggested that positioning well-being more clearly within the sustainability framework can enhance the role of sustainability; for example, in terms of aims and monitoring progress. In turn, the sustainability framework outlined, guides the second part of the article, illustrating how it can reciprocally enhance well-being research. That is, comprehensive empirical, evolutionary, cross-cultural, and self-conceptual evidence illustrate individuals’ interdependencies with other people and nature. Despite this, contemporary hedonic and eudaimonic well-being approaches and accompanying measures are demonstrated to be isolating; investigating well-being individualistically and in a decontextualized manner. This is in line with the individualistic and independent values of Western cultures. Therefore, it is suggested that employing the sustainability framework emphasizing interdependencies within well-being research can be beneficial; perhaps even resulting in an all-inclusive increase in well-being. Limitations are also raised and future research directions suggested. The author concludes that both sustainability and well-being research can benefit from the synergy toward sustainable well-being.

Review of General Psychology
Oscar Kjell
Oscar Kjell

I’m a researcher in Psychology interested in measuring psychological constructs with words and text responses analyzed with AI. In particular I’m interested in how this method can be used in clinical settings to assessment mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. I’m also interested in researching well-being, harmony in life and sustainable living. I’m currently funded for an international postdoc at the Computer Science Department at Stony Brook University and the University of Copenhagen.