There are many benefits that come from leading a sustainable life. Just one family, even just one person ‘going green,’ is a huge help to the environment.
‘Going green’ means you choose to adopt a sustainable and renewable way of living. This lifestyle, which can be a gradual process or a stark change, focuses on reducing carbon footprints and reusing and recycling wherever possible.
So whether you’re an avid recycler and buy only bio-safe products, or if you’ve gone the full nine yards and built the ultimate eco-friendly home, here’s some extra encouragement to boost you along your way to becoming as green as you can possibly be. There are some extra benefits of going green that you might not know about…
‘Going green’ can help your mental health
There is plenty of evidence to support the notion that surrounding yourself with nature and leading an eco-friendly life can contribute to you being happier and feeling more fulfilled. A team at Harvard University found that, “there’s a direct cognitive benefit and restorative quality of being in nature, that we’ve evolved in nature to enjoy being in nature.” On top of that, another report from Natural England found that, “taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental health problems and can contribute to reducing levels of anxiety, stress, and depression.”
Aside from improving already existing mental health issues, there’s also evidence that eco-consciousness can improve our levels of self-trust. Psychotherapist Jodi Aman says that engaging in skills that benefit the planet, like vegetable growing, collecting rainwater or making your own laundry detergent, can make you feel more accomplished and confident, “you experience less panic, less anxiety, and you feel more empowered and in control of your life,” says Aman.
‘Going green’ can improve your relationships
Making the effort to live a sustainable life can clearly boost your relationship with yourself and nature, however there’s signs that it can also enhance your relationships with friends and family.
Environmental and behavioural scientist Dr. Frances (Ming) Kuo says that people are more generous and sociable in greener settings – “we find stronger neighbourhood social ties and greater sense of community, more mutual trust and willingness to help others.”
Kuo also says in less green environments, there are higher rates of aggression and violence – “we also find more evidence of loneliness and more individuals reporting inadequate social support.”
Of course, going green is good for your wallet too, and there’s reason to believe this can also ease tension in close relationships. Obviously, reducing food waste can save you a tonne on groceries, making your own bio-friendly cleaning products can save you a bucket-load on expensive detergents and hanging up your clothes to dry rather than using a dryer can save you a fortune in electricity bills. But, did you know this ease on financial pressures, as a flow on effect from ‘going green,’ can also improve how you relate with those you live with, namely your partner?
A study conducted by Greater Bank into Australian attitudes towards money and relationships found that 82 per cent of people in couples, felt that money caused tension in their relationships. So, by and large, if you’re on a mission to lead a more sustainable life, chances are you’ll get along better with those close to you as a flow on affect from saving money after going green!
Remember, don’t stress if you can’t be perfectly sustainable in every aspect of your life, all in one go. Take it step by step. Just making an effort to behave more environmentally responsible is a huge help to the environment and is boost your mental health and relationships.
Emily Leary is a health and lifestyle writer from Sydney. She has a passion for books, journalism and animals. She’s interested in renewable energy and slow-fashion.