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5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

We all know about “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” but there is so much more that everyone can do to reduce their footprint on the environment and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Such a lifestyle carries benefits beyond slogans of “saving the earth.” Sustainable living can save you a lot of money as you waste less energy and material goods, and certain habits can be healthy for you as well. Here are five simple yet highly beneficial ways that you can move towards a sustainable lifestyle which will help you and the planet.

1. Stop eating out

In 2015, Americans spent more money dining out than buying groceries for the first time since data collection began in 1992.

While eating out may be easier than cooking by yourself, it is a terrible habit. From an environmental perspective, takeout creates wasteful plastic containers. And, of course, there is the gas wasted driving to eat out when you could stay home and cook.

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But even if you are not interested in the environment, constantly eating out does a number on your wallet in the long run. You may not think about dropping seven to twelve dollars for a meal over the short run, but it adds up over time. Furthermore, a home-cooked meal will almost always be healthier than what you will buy from a restaurant.

Are you scared of cooking? Don’t be. There are plenty of websites online which can teach you easy recipes and help you to appreciate the benefits of cooking.

2. Go thrift store shopping

There is nothing more sustainable than taking one man’s trash and turning it into your treasure. And by going thrift store shopping, you are showing a true aversion to waste. Furthermore, you can support non-profit charities instead of large corporations which don’t have environmentally friendly practices. And there are the financial benefits of not spending $50 for a t-shirt.

It should be noted that thrift store shopping can be hit or miss, and do not be afraid to walk out of a thrift store with nothing. But you may find a full range of eco-friendly products including cosmetics and detergents. And if you want to find a good thrift store, then aim for one in an upper middle-class neighborhood like Trent Hamm suggests. These are the areas where people are more likely to throw out perfectly fine goods which you can use.

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3. Eat less meat

Note here that I am not suggesting you go vegetarian. Some sacrifices are too much.

But going meatless one day a week can help your health, and meat is an environmentally inefficient method of producing food. A cow can never produce as much food as the large amounts of corn which are used to feed it, and there is the problem of cattle methane production.

Eggs and nuts are a good, tasty source of protein which are healthier for you than steak. But don’t use fish as a substitute. Given the global overfishing crisis, eating fish is arguably even worse for the environment than meat. And if you absolutely cannot survive a day without meat, go with chickens over pork, and especially over beef.

4. Dry your clothes outside

No household appliance uses more energy than a clothes dryer, and it is particularly irksome when nature can dry your clothes for free.

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Now, hanging clothes outside may not be for everyone. You may not have enough space, or you may be afraid of animals coming by and messing with your clothes. There is nothing worse than seeing bird droppings on that shirt you just washed.

But if you have the space, try and test it out. You will be surprised at how quickly clothes can dry, as well as how good it can smell. And if you get it down once, then there are a lot of tips to drying clothes which our ancestors knew but which we have forgotten. Here is a series of tips which can make clothes drying easier and more environmentally efficient.

5. Go paperless

Humans cut down 15 billion trees each year for various reasons, and some of them are necessary for our civilization. But one use for trees which is less and less necessary is paper, as we rely more on electronics to read and obtain information.

But many of us still get catalogues, junk mail, and bills through the mail instead of electronically. This creates additional paper waste, especially since we toss those bills into the garbage instead of recycling them. Going electronic is simpler than ever, and is easier to track and keep records of compared to paper bills, which can be lost or shoved in some drawer.

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Another good way to save paper and money is to rely more on the library instead of buying books. Not everyone needs their own book, and sharing them through the library is better for the environment and spreads knowledge throughout the community.

Featured photo credit: phototouring via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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