Thinking about how 2018 already has you stressed out (and considering it’s only February)?! YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 77% of people report that they regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and honey – that ain’t a way to live! Sounds like you could use some tips on new living *wink (#seewhatididthere)
We all have been guilty of starting the year with lots of energy, lofty goals and resolutions, and a renewed sense of purpose, and it’s easy to get discouraged when you realize how much time you may have lost in making progress. The great news is, incorporating small changes in your day-to-day routine to live a more eco-friendly life can actually make you happier and reduce stress, killing two theoretical, highly-symbolic birds with one stone (because we’d never advocate for the actual killing of birds EVER).
Being environmentally conscious might sound hard. Over the years, it’s gotten a bad rep (what do you mean “compost,” what is this??). But hear us when we say that studies have shown that living an eco-friendly life is now being shown to increase satisfaction and overall happiness in your life. Professors from Simon Fraser University have released a study that shows if you live an eco-friendly life you will be healthier and happier. In addition, some other cool and amazingly smart people – Michael Schmitt (professor of psychology), Lara Aknin (professor of psychology) and Jonn Axsen (a professor of resource and environmental management), who also partnered with Rachael Shwom from Rutger’s University – have released a study that shows if you follow “the act of living with intent,” you will become a more satisfied and stress free person (you can find their study published here in Ecological Economics.)
The great news is, it actually isn’t hard – seriously! In a gig-economy world where everyone’s hustling every.hour.of.the.day, living eco-friendly and reducing your day-to-day stress can be achieved. We’ve put together some things that have worked with us at New Living that have been super helpful. We’d love to hear what works for you!
Conserve Water & Electricity
*over PA system* Attention, Texas residents *static, static*
Sometimes we forget that we live in a state where one minute, water is over-abundant, and the next minute, one county has a burn ban and the other county is being told not to water their lawns. We forget that something as simple as turning off the tap while brushing our teeth or taking a shorter shower can help a lot with water conservation. We’d love to provide you with some stats to back this up in future posts, but we might not need to if you’ve been watching the news and have heard about what is going on in South Africa. And if not, we’ve got you, boo boo (source: Reuters). And here’s a tip that serves a dual purpose: try taking a bath with essential oils (peppermint and Palo Santo are our faves). You’ll be reducing your stress & conserving water, all while you #treatyoself
Plant More Trees
The human relationship with trees is one of the most beautiful symbiotic relationships: we need trees to live, and trees need us to live. Mass deforestation is happening all around us in staggering levels, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that the little things we do make a huge impact. If you live in the loop like many and have only a balcony to work with, never fear. Small succulents and potted plants – we love the hanging variety! – all help contribute to the oxygen in our atmosphere.
Buy Locally Grown Produce
Find out where your closest Farmer’s Market is (Houston has a ton of them!) and go there! Here you will feel fulfilled by your social interaction with the people who grow the food that you are purchasing. There is no better feeling! We LOVE Urban Harvest (www.UrbanHarvest.org), but there are a ton in Houston you can check out!
Buy Recycled Goods
When you buy a consumer good made from recycled materials – and there are tons of options, thanks to brands being more woke! – you are helping to increase the demand for these recycled products (thanks, high school economics class!). Recycling is becoming more common in counties, so make sure you are aware of your options – you could be missing out on an opportunity to give back!
Buy Organic or Responsibly Sourced
You’ve got to buy (coffee, crackers, bed sheets, insert product here) anyway — buy products you can be confident about when it comes to their quality and longevity. Organic and responsibly sourced products not only give you peace of mind that those who were involved in the assembly were treated well while creating this for you, but that your quality of life is improved because of it. Maybe we’ve been reading a little too much Marie Kondo, or maybe we truly believe that the things you invite into your space have a spirit and impact your life… maybe both!
Going back to the original study, Schmitt says that “instead of thinking of these changes only in terms of what they cost us, individuals and policy makers need to see eco-friendly behaviors as opportunities to do good for the environment, for humans, and for other species. As contributions to the well-being of others, eco-friendly behaviors offer opportunities to experience a meaningful and satisfied life.”
Environmentally conscious living can be perceived as a type of commitment, yes. But it’s a lot easier than you think. It is a way of life that has proven to have the power to bring you sustained happiness (hashtag science). We’ve seen it, we’ve felt it, we’ve lived it – and we want to hear about how you are, too! How are you reducing stress? How are you living eco-friendly? How are YOU “new living?”