New findings from a survey and a social experiment suggest that ‘the key to happiness’ may be as simple as making small lifestyle changes that help protect Earth’s natural resources. 70 percent of the survey respondents and all of the participants in the social experiment reported that ‘making eco-minded choices’ led to significant increases in personal happiness.
The results were released this week, just days ahead of the International Day of Happiness on March 20. Both the survey and social experiment were commissioned by packaging company Tetra Pak, in an effort to investigate the benefits of “renewable living,” or the adoption of “environmentally-responsible behaviors.”
"At Tetra Pak, we believe that even simple lifestyle behaviors have the power to make a big impact, on both a personal and global scale," said Elisabeth Comere, Director of Environment and Government Affairs for the company. The company’s whitepaper on the #RenewableLiving Social Experiment [PDF download] elaborates: “We don’t believe it is enough to just work within our industry [and] with our business partners. We feel we have an important role to play in educating and empowering consumers.”
Next, the company is inviting people to participate in the #RenewableLiving Challenge. Participants are encouraged to adopt simple, ‘renewable’ habits every day over a 28-day period, such as:
- Taking shorter showers to conserve water;
- Buying only what can be consumed when shopping at the grocery store;
- Using re-usable drink containers when possible;
- Biking or walking to work instead of driving (or car-pooling with others when driving is the only option); or
- Choosing food and beverage products in recyclable and renewable packaging at the grocery store, like cartons made mainly of paperboard, a natural resource that can be replenished over time.
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Tetra Pak has also created a 5-question ‘Habits of Happiness’ Quiz “to help participants assess where they stand in the happiness scale, both before and after the challenge.”
The same basic premise was used for the Renewable Living Social Experiment: 10 bloggers in 5 countries (the US, Brazil, India, France and Spain) were asked to take small steps to adopt new habits such as walking or biking to work or making “eco-minded" choices at the grocery store. The experiment showed that over the course of the 28-day period, the behaviors became more habitual and the bloggers became happier. The experiment was conducted in partnership with the University College London (UK) and the Tilburg University (Netherlands).
Comere said, "This study shows that the collective benefit of the small actions we take, from taking shorter showers to choosing products with renewable packaging, can benefit the world around us while making us feel happier."
Previous research from Tetra Pak has shown that more than 75 percent of consumers are influenced by eco-friendly packaging.