The Perks of Going Green: How Are Eco-friendliness and Wellbeing Connected
Going green seems to be becoming more and more important but many are still dragging their feet when it comes to being more eco-friendly. Let’s talk about the perks of going green.
After the horrific images coming from Australia, and the countless videos of people trying to help wildlife escape from the blaze, the question of the hour seems to be: how much are we contributing to the greenhouse effect that has caused this calamity?
At one point or another, we all think about going a bit more green. We see a news report, read a story, listen to someone talking about the little bit they are doing for the planet, and decide to give it a go.
However, we often fail to stick to it and follow through: we forget to take our tote to the store, we buy a coffee in a disposable cup, we shop at a fast-fashion retailer.
If we were to tell you that being more eco-friendly is not only good for the environment but good for your own wellbeing too, might it help you focus on the green aspects of living a little bit more?
Once you start looking at your eco-friendly lifestyle as a practice that helps you live your best life – something that makes your life better, makes you feel better, rather than just something you should be doing – well, you’ll see.
How does the environment impact your mental health?
Not many of us are aware of the fact that the climate has an effect on how we feel. And we’re not just talking about seasonal affective disorder, or the dampened moods we all tend to feel when the weather is rough.
Different studies have shown that air pollution can be a contributing cause to mental conditions such as anxiety and depression, and it can even affect cognitive abilities and cause learning disabilities.
This effect is more pronounced in highly populated – and thus more polluted – urban areas, which are ironically where more and more people tend to cluster.
Living a more eco-conscious life can help reduce these levels of pollution, thus contributing to cleaner air, and helping some future humans be less affected by the mental taxes breathing in polluted air demands.
What about eco-friendliness and physical health?
The technological advancements we have been focusing on over the past decades have certainly impacted the human experience for the better. Some diseases have been wiped out, our life expectancy has lengthened, we work less physically demanding jobs, and in theory, we have more time to enjoy our time on earth.
However, some of the side effects of all of this exponential tech advancement have been the increasing pollution levels, the extinction of countless animals, and a way of life that our bodies and minds still haven’t adapted to.
Living a more eco-friendly life: walking or cycling as opposed to burning any kind of fuel other than calories to get around; eating locally grown, clean produce and focusing on more plant-based meals; opting to wear natural, longer-lasting materials as opposed to fast fashion choices – and so on, returns us to the state that, evolutionarily speaking, is more natural to us.
Yes, technology is an amazing addition to life. But it forces us into living a more sedentary lifestyle (which is causing an increasing amount of harm), shedding the human connection in favor of touchscreen relationships, and burning down our home in favor of instant gratification.
Moving more, eating better, and reconnecting with nature are all incredible ways eco-friendliness can boost your wellbeing.
The cold hard benefits of a green lifestyle on your wellbeing
Some of the more concrete and very welcome ways in which living green improves your wellbeing include:
It makes you more mindful
Taking a step back to think about the way you consume electricity, how your cup of coffee impacts the ocean levels and how buying a mango out of season contributes to the greenhouse effect makes you more mindful and aware of the life you are living, and the impact you have on the ecosystem around you.
This newfound level of mindfulness will help you become more aware of yourself as a person as well, thus helping you become more in touch with your feelings, thoughts, and wishes.
Living a more mindful life reduces stress and anxiety levels, and helps you spend your time in more meaningful ways.
It makes you healthier
As we’ve discussed in the previous sections, being more eco-conscious has you turning to local, seasonal foods. It helps you choose healthier options and makes you walk more. All of this has an incredibly positive effect on your health, both physically and mentally. And that, in turn, makes life a bit more enjoyable and a bit less exhausting.
It makes you feel good
Doing good makes you feel good: how often have you heard great philanthropists talk about the way giving makes an impact on their life. Some even go as far as calling their endeavors selfish, because they make them feel so much better about themselves.
Knowing you are doing something good: no matter how small it is, will help improve your mood and make you feel better about who you are as a person.
It helps you live a more minimal, less consumer-focused life
Sometimes having too much choice leads to choice paralysis, and it can have a very negative impact on your mood.
Being caught up in the frenzy of keeping up with the latest products to try, items to buy, and the rat race required to earn enough money to afford all of the stuff you’re made to think you need, leads to worsening mental health and an overall less enjoyable life.
Embracing a more minimal lifestyle lets you breathe more easily, let go of a lot of self-inflicted stress, and manage your mind better, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter in your life.
Things you can do to be more eco-friendly
- Freeze the fruit and veg you are not going to eat, instead of letting it spoil
- Turn electronics and lights off when you don’t need them
- Explore alternative housing and living options
- Carpool whenever you can
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Don’t use straws
- Don’t use coffee stirrers
- Try to buy products in glass rather than plastic
- Only buy what you need and will use, as opposed to what you want and may not ever use
- Pay your bills online
- Have more plants in your home
- Recycle or donate all your clothes instead of throwing them away
Going green does not have to be a hassle, nor does it have to be a chore.
After all, what it really is is a choice: your choice to live the kind of life you want to live. Educate yourself more on the benefits and effects of your actions, and start looking at the bigger picture. You are not alone on this earth, and you are blessed with nearly limitless choice. It’s up to you to make the best one.
And even if you make the choice for your benefit only: going green will benefit your wellbeing so much, you’ll wonder why you haven’t switched your lifestyle around sooner.