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5 Hacks To Greenify Your Home

5 Hacks To Greenify Your Home

You don’t have to be some hippie who only shops at Whole Foods to understand the benefits of going green in your day to day life. All of us end up wasting far more resources than we truly need. By limiting the amount of resources we use in our home and our day-to-day lives, we can both help limit carbon emissions, promote a greener world, and save money all at the same time.

Here are a few tips for how you help greenify your home, along with notes for how easy or difficult they may be.

1. Fix Household Leaks

As the EPA notes, more than 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted nationwide every year, enough to provide water to 11 million households. But with so many pipes in your house, it can be difficult to detect when there is a leak in your home.

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So what do you do if you notice a leak? You may need to call a plumber, but sometimes you can do it yourself just by tightening a showerhead or replacing the toilet flapper. If you want to try a more extensive repair yourself, do take care to turn off the water line first. There are far too many stories out there of self-professed “experts” who end up destroying their own homes with a plumbing job gone wrong.

2. Get a Native Lawn

Do you have a grass lawn outside just like all of your neighbors? Generic grass lawns can cost a huge amount both in terms of water as well as the fertilizers and chemicals needed to take care of it. A homeowner will spend 10 times as many fertilizers and pesticides per acre as a farmer does for his crops.

Part of the reason we use so many chemicals is because we try to put grass lawns in places where they have no sense being, especially in drier states like Texas or California. This is especially shameful because every area of America has their own natural wildlife which is beautiful in its own right. Natural wildlife has adapted to the local conditions over thousands if not millions of years, meaning that they only use as much water as they need and are not dependent on fertilizers.

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Check out your local nursery, which should have native plants which have adapted to the climate. They can help give you pointers on how to get rid of your normal grass lawn and replace it with something more natural.

3. Get off of Junk Mail lists

You get home after a long day at work, only to find a dozen envelopes crammed with junk mail inside your house when you enter. But junk mail is not only annoying. More than 100 million trees are destroyed every year to produce junk mail which no one even opens.

While you should obviously try to recycle your junk mail when you get it, the best thing to do is cut the mail off at the source and not get it at all. The FTC has a list of organizations you can contact to put yourself both on a “do not mail” and “do not call.”

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4. Install Solar Panels

Needless to say, this option is not for everyone. Installing a solar power can represent an upfront cost from $15,000 to $29,000 and they may not be the best investment if you live in a cloudy area. However, there are tax credits and rebates which can help lessen the cost and a solar panel can save you money over years to decades thanks to almost non-existent energy bills.

Installing solar panels on your home roof is obviously a professional’s job, and you need to take the time to find a contractor whom you can trust. Inspect any contractor, ask for professional references, and go over the contract and warranty they offer in detail. Installing a solar panel is not like buying a computer. It’s something which will be part of your life for decades, so make absolutely sure that there are no surprises.

5. Install CFL lights

This is the simplest, yet arguably the most important way to greenify your home. Lighting and using incandescent bulbs are one of the biggest ways in which we end up using too much electricity and resources. A CFL bulb uses one-fourth as much electricity as an incandescent bulb. And while some individuals may complain that a CFL bulb’s light is not bright enough, that is actually an argument in favor of CFL bulbs. This is because you can purchase a CFL bulb with a larger wattage that will still use less energy than a regular bulb, while a larger incandescent bulb can be dangerous depending on your lamp.

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You can find CFL bulbs at pretty much anywhere which sells light bulbs these days, so there is no excuse not to own one anymore. Just put it in your lamp and feel satisfied on helping to make a greener, less resource intensive home.

Featured photo credit: www.motherearthnews.com via motherearthnews.com

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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