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Being Environmentally Conscious is Good for your Mental Health

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — April 22, 2020 — 4 min read
Do you ever long for that soothing feeling of a fresh breeze on your face, or the rays of the sun on your skin? How about surrendering to the calming sounds of the forest, or the birds singing as a new day begins? Getting in touch with nature has many benefits for our physical and mental health.

Studies show that spending more time in nature helps decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. When we allow ourselves to enjoy nature, our negative and repetitive thoughts tend to decrease. It can also help us develop a more balanced vision of life.

On a physical level, a simple walk in nature can lower our blood pressure. It can reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It can also calm our fight or flight impulses. Some specialists have even included what has been called ecotherapy in their mental health treatments.

On Earth Day, it’s timely to highlight some of the benefits that human beings obtain from the planet. But there is an area perhaps less explored that we would like to discuss. Have you ever wondered what the mental health benefits are of being more environmentally conscious? Here are five areas to consider.

Gives you a higher purpose

During the coronavirus crisis, humans have become more aware than ever that being part of a community is vital, not only for survival, but also to feel safe and protected. Taking care of nature and protecting the environment that supports your whole community gives you an opportunity to contribute to it. This can help you bring more meaning to your life, knowing that you play an important role within the group to which you belong.

The opportunity to connect with yourself

In a world full of distractions and duties, it’s hard to find moments of connection with yourself. Nature has the power to invite us to contemplate silence and feel the natural rhythm of things. It invites us to find beauty in the simplicity of life. Spending time in nature can give us perspective and help alleviate the stress of our daily routines. It can help us gain more peace and clarity of mind.

More confidence in yourself

To be an environmentally conscious person, you will have to learn more about what you can do to reduce your impact on nature. For example, you can learn more about recycling or protecting the forest, the ocean, and the wildlife. By learning about this, you will be able to take a proactive role and be part of the solution. This can help you stay motivated and hopeful. It also gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge with others.

Improves your physical health

As you start being more environmentally conscious, you will also develop healthier physical habits. You will probably be more interested in walking or riding your bike, or even using public transportation instead of driving your car all the time. You will also be more careful when choosing your food, as you will probably think about eating more fruits and vegetables. You might even start getting curious about planting some of your food or herbs to season your dishes at home. Can you imagine spending more time outdoors taking care of your fruit trees, or just enjoying your garden and taking care of it? Learn more about gardening by attending our community workshops.

Balances your consumption habits

One of the principles of environmental responsibility is to "reduce, reuse and recycle.” Getting in tune with this motto will help you be more cautious about consuming and discarding what you consume. This can help you reduce your purchases, which will positively impact your budget. It could also help you keep a more organized home and prevent accumulating more stuff than you really need.

Enjoy the journey!

Remember that it is important to enjoy the journey as you learn how to be more environmentally friendly. No one can save the world on their own, and it’s not going to happen overnight. Keep in mind that the idea is to strengthen your mental health, not bring additional stress into your life. Be patient and try to live in harmony with nature as much as you can. Every little step you take makes a difference!

To learn more about local efforts to protect the environment, you can contact the North Carolina Conservation Network. You can also reach out to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
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