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Mental health benefits on going green

This article was taken from Sierra Magazine and was written by Katie O´Reilly, it truly reflects our goals.

You can find the original version in: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/green-life/mental-health-benefits-going-green

Thank you very much to their staff!!

 

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF GOING GREEN

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Photo by EtiAmmos/iStock

Environmental grief can certainly take its toll on those of us who value wildlife and a stable climate. But the good news is there’s also plenty of evidence to show that eco-consciousness can be fantastic for our mental health. In the spirit of National Self-Improvement Month (yep, there is such a thing, and no, it’s not January as we bear down on New Year’s resolutions), I checked in with psychology experts to learn about how efforts to minimize one’s carbon footprint and spend time in the outdoors can also improve a person’s emotional well-being. Here’s what I found:

1)    When we contribute to our communities and the planet, we become part of something bigger than ourselves. When we are mindful of the resources we use (say, by composting food waste or collecting cans for recycling), we’re paying attention to our community, which results in a greater sense of meaning and purpose. This is according to Dr. Jared Scherz, a Mt. Laurel, New Jersey–based Gestalt therapist, who describes this as the “best antidote” to anxiety and depression. “It instills a sense of worth, and it gives people something to be passionate about, something to talk about with others.” 

2)    It’s important to take cues from nature. Being outside, Scherz says, teaches us to listen to our corporal selves, rather than relying solely on our overtaxed brains. And of course, our bodies’ cues help us make healthier choices about food, toxins, and human interactions. He’s had clients take off their shoes and socks, explore his wellness center’s organic garden and greenhouse, touch flowers, learn about soil, and taste home-grown herbs. “This offers a sense of the fortitude and resiliency of nature, which helps us find those forces within ourselves,” he says. “Being in nature also forces you to slow down and pay attention, to learn what your needs are, and take action to get those needs met, rather than actions to simply alleviate discomfort.” Rachel Kazez, a Chicago-based licensed clinical social worker, agrees that spending time in nature is a perfect antidote to tunnel vision. “Being in the world reminds us that there’s a lot going on—not just you and your job,” she says. 

 

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