There’s no shortage of news stories about rare natural disasters becoming expected seasonal problems. Seeing global populations and the planet suffer from these crises affects everyone’s mental wellness, which makes people turn to activism. These are a few examples of how being sustainable benefits your mental health and why environmental activism is so helpful for individuals of all ages.
Activism provides purpose
One of the most prominent mental health benefits of environmental activism is finding a new purpose. When people aren’t trying to reach new goals, they lack direction. It creates an untethered feeling that exacerbates existing depressive episodes. But activism presents a unique chance for someone to pour their heart into a purpose.
When people start working toward a greener future, everything they do has meaning. They care about what they buy, how they get rid of waste, and what their future could mean for the planet’s well-being. Given that people with purpose decrease their risk of dementia by improving their cognitive function, there’s no end to the mental health benefits of going green.
Environmentalism creates new communities
A person’s mental wellness may deteriorate if they spend long periods in isolation. People need social interaction, but some struggle to form social roots if they’re introverted or new to their city. Becoming passionate about the environment gives people a way to connect with others. As they meet new people and form a sustainably minded community around themselves, individuals will simultaneously improve their mental health and the environment.
People become more mindful
Forming more awareness about daily choices is the only way someone can minimize their carbon footprint. Every decision has a ripple effect on the planet, like buying a plastic water bottle during a road trip that ends up in the ocean.
Considering how each decision affects the world forces people to become more mindful, which grounds their mental health. Research shows that short-term mindfulness decreases the severity of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, so using activism to change a person’s lifestyle will help them with their long-term health.
New career opportunities are possible
Discovering a new passion like environmentalism also opens doors to new careers. Some people may suffer from mental health conditions because they feel stuck in their job or work an unfulfilling career.
There are many ways to turn sustainable beliefs into a rewarding career. People can work for companies that provide clean water while conserving resources or use their law degrees to pass sustainable legislation. Crafting a rewarding career is one of the many mental health benefits of environmental activism that people can experience after changing their lifestyles.
Nature relieves stress
Some eco-friendly lifestyles and careers will lead to more time outside. People may start sustainable gardens or volunteer in their community, which helps them get more fresh air and time in nature. Spending additional time on nature walks, in parks, or performing hands-on activities to improve the planet reduces the intensity of daily stress, which would otherwise wreak havoc on a person’s mental wellness.
Continuous education empowers people
It’s challenging for people to find balance in their mental health if they feel a lack of power in their lives. They might have low self-esteem or experience a life event that removes the sense of control they had over their future. Pushing themselves to learn more about the environment and make a difference empowers everyone and restores their confidence.
Connect mental health and the environment
Once people learn how being sustainable benefits their mental health, they can confidently make green changes in their lives. Whether they change their career, meet new people, or find purpose again, environmentalism will improve their mental wellness and quality of life.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.
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