Advertising
Advertising

14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

You don’t have to knit your own patchouli-scented yogurt and start raising llamas in order to have a greener, more Earth-friendly lifestyle. Sustainable living isn’t about dressing in hemp and reeking of self-righteousness, and it doesn’t mean turning into a folk-music-loving, car-abstaining carbon warrior. It isn’t about radically changing who you are. But you can change a few things you do, to benefit both you and the world we live in.

1. Save on grocery bills.

How often do you get home from the grocery store, having spent another hundred bucks to load up your fridge, only to find you’re chucking out a bag of slimy lettuce that never met a fork, or some lunch meat that’s turned iridescent blue? Make a list, stick to it and be sure to eat what you’ve bought before your next trip to the store. Food waste costs you and the planet, while throwing money at multinational producers and retailers.

2. Not quite freeganism, but—

If there’s a dented box of cereal or a can of baked beans with the label partially torn off, does it makes a difference to the stuff inside? Probably not. Look for items that might be marked down—often just before closing time—to stock your cupboards or freezer and save it from going to waste.

Advertising

3. Freeze it/Preserve it.

While you’re at it, why not make use of that freezer by stocking it with more than just ice cream. Cook up a big batch of chili or a pasta bake and freeze it to save you time in the kitchen in the future. Or bulk-buy fruits or vegetables that can be canned as jam, chutney or preserved for making a marinara or bbq sauce later.

Peaches

    4. Grow it yourself.

    Whether you have just enough room on your windowsill for a few herbs or a backyard just waiting for you to get digging, make 2014 the year you start growing. There are countless websites with advice on what time of year is best to plant certain things, what kind of soil or extra nutrients they need and when and how to start harvesting.

    5. Set and eggsample.

    Now, not everyone should try raising chickens. If you’re not going to take care of them by building a predator-proof pen with room to roam, or make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep and lay their eggs (that you clean regularly), or enough food and water, don’t bother; but that’s about all chickens need to be happy egg-layers. They’re generally quiet and pretty low-maintenance, and you can learn everything else you need to know through publications such as

    Advertising

    Your Chickens magazine. (Yes, there really is a Your Chickens magazine).2632524020_fe557e500d

      6. Go to the source.

      Most towns and cities have a regular farmers’ market, where shoppers can buy right from the producers. This supports local growers and vastly decreases the food miles (and carbon footprints) that build up when consumers buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables shipped from the other side of the world. The produce is fresher, tastier and you get a better selection, plus you can ask about growing methods (is it organic or treated with pesticides or herbicides?) and discover new varieties and cooking ideas.

      7. Picnic with a difference.

      If you live in the country or make weekend escapes to the great outdoors, look for wild foods growing in public areas. Roadsides—unless they are quiet back roads—aren’t ideal for picking berries, fruit or wild salad greens, but you can forage your heart out in parks and other public land. If nothing else, the fresh air and exercise are good for you!

      8. Pedal power.

      If you don’t have a bicycle, rent one to see what style of bike suits you best. Riding a bike is good for your health and the planet’s.

      Advertising

      6902579282_4e953a817b_z

        9. Car pool.

        Can you share rides to work? If you’re nowhere near public transportation, you might find like-minded individuals willing to share a lift and cut down on emissions.

        10. Walk the walk.

        Do you really need to drive everywhere? Whether it’s deliberately taking a space at the far end of a parking structure, finding a pedestrian-friendly way of getting to work or just getting out for an evening stroll—yes, even in the snow—walking is a safe cardiovascular workout that’s as easy on your joints as it is on your environmental impact.

        11. Energize your living space.

        Homeowners waste a huge amount of money on inefficient houses. Do an energy audit to find out if your windows and doors are sufficiently sealed, if you need newer/more/different insulation and if there are other energy-saving changes you can make. Cut your bills while giving Mother Nature a break.

        Advertising

        12. Don’t just dump it.

        Rather than sending an old appliance or piece of furniture to an incinerator or landfill, can someone else make use of it? Is there a housing charity, secondhand store or message board where your castoffs can find a new home? Alternatively, you might find free beach chairs, a grill or some curtains on Freecycle or a similar site.

        13. Watch what you wash—and dry.

        Make sure you’re not doing small loads of laundry and don’t wash it on a higher temperature than is necessary. Can you hang clean laundry on a drying rack or clothesline? You’ll save money without wasting energy.

        14. Get creative.

        There are countless ways to contribute toward greener living. Whether it’s sharing your skills, getting the message out, starting a car pooling or local recycling group, small steps can add up in big ways.

        6891020296_86c1a5d310_z

          More by this author

          Spring Into Shape In Seven Fun Steps 14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

          Trending in Health

          1 How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind 2 Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally) 3 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life 4 15 Quick Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle 5 10 Best Kombucha Brands To Improve Gut Health

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on July 3, 2020

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

          I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

          If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

          1. The Inner Critic

          This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

          • Other people’s words—many times your parents
          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

          The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

          Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

          2. The Worrier

          This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

          The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

          Advertising

          3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

          This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

          This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

          The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

          4. The Sleep Depriver

          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

          The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

          How can you control these squatters?

          How to Master Your Mind

          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

          This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

          1. For the Inner Critic

          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

          Advertising

          You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

          This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

          • They rile up the Worrier.
          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
          • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
          • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
          • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

          Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

          2. For the Worrier

          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tense

          Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

          Advertising

          Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

          For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

          Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

          3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

          Breathe in through your nose:

          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
          • Focus on your belly rising.

          Breathe out through your nose:

          • Feel your lungs emptying.
          • Focus on your belly falling.
          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

          Advertising

          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

          4. For the Sleep Depriver

          (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
          2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

          From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
          • Shut down your thinking
          • Calm your feelings
          • Simply focus on the present moment

          The Bottom Line

          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

          More About Mental Strength

          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

          Read Next