6 Surprising Benefits of Living a Sustainable Lifestyle
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, many people are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. As society makes a conscious effort to minimise its carbon footprint and preserve natural resources, we recognise that our happiness is interconnected with other people and the natural environment.
Dr Catherine O’Brien pioneered the movement towards sustainable happiness –
“happiness that contributes to individual, community, or global well-being without exploiting other people, the environment, or future generations.”
On the journey to making more sustainable life choices, people feel healthier and more connected. Here’s why:
1. Increased mindfulness
Living conscientiously now brings you back into the present moment. By embracing sustainable practices, we have become intentional about the choices we make and have considered the positive or adverse consequences down the line; choices that prioritise the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.
With the cultural shift away from consumerism and material pleasures to a lifestyle with greater connection and holistic fulfilment, we have become more mindful and more in tune with the world around us.
2. Greater appreciation of nature
Sustainable lifestyles go hand-in-hand with spending more time in nature and the outdoors, with a greater sense of connection to the environment. Society is spending more time in parks, choosing to cycle to work, and delighting in home-grown food gardens.
It runs full circle: the more time we spend outdoors, the more environmentally conscious we become. Taking the time to appreciate the beauty of nature and become aware of the impact of your actions can help one to actively practise gratitude and mindfulness.
3. Become part of a community (again)
With many local and worldwide initiatives organised around cleaning, planting, and recycling – living an eco-friendly lifestyle often involves taking part in activities that bring people together. In order to preserve our planet, society is encouraging collaboration and mutual support in working towards a common goal. This increased time spent among nature in a community setting, fosters a greater sense of belonging and rebuilds the human connection society so greatly needs after the segregation of COVID.
4. Feel empowered
More than ever before, the power is in your hands. Making small changes, such as reducing energy and water usage, recycling, and choosing ecologically-friendly products, can give you a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are contributing to a healthier planet. We’re learning the value of progress and collective effort, and that even small actions can have a big impact.
Think of the pride and sense of motivation you feel when you see the results of your efforts: your vibrant vegetable patch, watching your community come together, or noticing a difference in the quantity of waste your household generates.
5. Be innovative
Living a low-impact life is a springboard for creativity, providing ample opportunities for personal growth and development. The surge in gardening, composting, DIY home repairs, and even beekeeping during the pandemic has allowed people to increase their self-sufficiency and feel more empowered in their daily lives with a deep sense of personal satisfaction.
With a mindset that values resourcefulness, people find greater value in what they have and what they can do. This growing focus on simplicity and minimalism aids to clear the mental (and physical) clutter: reducing stress and increasing general levels of happiness.
6. Health and mental wellbeing
With the complex links between mental health and the environment, time outdoors calms the nervous system, and improves cognitive functioning and short-term memory. Conscious consumers are eating a healthy, plant-based diet, and ensuring they are eating the freshest, most nutrient-packed food available. Eating local and organic produce not only helps reduce one’s carbon footprint but reduces exposure to toxins and lowers the risk of chronic health conditions.
In the constant quest for greater life satisfaction, reasons like these remind us that the switch to a greener life is overwhelmingly beneficial. If you’re starting out and are looking for inspiration on how to make a difference at home, click here to see some of our suggestions.
“When perceived this way, it is no longer possible to imagine a future where the pursuit of happiness is not somehow connected to sustainability.”
– Happiness Research Institute, Denmark.