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20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

Making the shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can help improve your health and life overall, and it’s also a major boost to the world around you. Ditching unnecessary chemicals, unhealthy foods, unfriendly Earth practices, and bad habits/routines can all add together to make an altogether healthier you, whilst boosting the environment and ecosystem. Wherever you are in the world, the following 20 tips are all achievable endeavours. Some of them are even great fun! So indulge yourselves whilst we all fight for a Greener future.

1. Save Energy

    One of the most direct steps you can take to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment is reducing the amount of energy that you use in your home. Along with making your home greener, saving energy has real, tangible benefits on your life in that it can save you money. Although some energy-saving techniques require some initial financial outlay, in the long-term the money you save can really add up.

    Some energy-saving home improvements you could consider include the following:

    • Use low energy light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save energy and money – typically they use one-third to one-fifth electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and last eight to fifteen times longer. This is a no-brainer – get them fitted today!
    • Switch off appliances when they are not in use: Leaving electric items such as computers, audio-visual equipment, and kitchen appliances on “standby” uses electricity. If you are not using these appliances, you should switch them off completely. 
    • Unplug your charger when your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged: Similarly, when your phone is fully charged, unplug the charger to conserve power. 
    • Insulate your home: Insulating your home properly can make heating much more efficient. Some local authorities offer insulation schemes so it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate whether you are eligible for free home insulation.
    • Lower your thermostat: Reducing the temperature on your heating system’s thermostat by a few degrees will, over the course of a year, reduce the amount of energy and money you spend on heating.
    • Wash your clothes at low temperatures: Much of the energy used in washing laundry is expended on heating the water, so always opt for a lower temperature when possible.
    • Line-dry laundry: Tumble drying clothes uses large amounts of electricity, so use a washing line or drying rack to dry your laundry more naturally.
    • Cover pans when cooking: Whenever you cook on the hob, always try to cover the pans – this reduces the amount of energy that escapes from open pans, plus the amount of time it takes to heat up food and boil water.

    2. Save Water

    saving water

      Saving water around the home is another way to reduce the environmental impact of your lifestyle and, as with reducing energy usage, can save you plenty of money.

      •  Use short cycles for washing clothes: Modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option you should take full advantage of.
      •  Fix leaks: Ensuring there are no leaks in your plumbing system – including pipes, taps, toilet cisterns – helps prevent unnecessary water wastage.
      •  Take short showers:  Hot showers are an incredible luxury, so don’t waste this by spending far too long in the shower.
      •  Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: An often-forgotten habit that wastes litres of water. Turn off the tap.
      •  Install tap aerators on all your taps:  Aerators are cheap additions to the end of taps that reduce the flow of water while improving the pressure of a tap’s stream.
      •  Install a low-flow shower head: Low-flow shower heads work in a similar way to tap aerators – aerating the stream of water, improving pressure and saving plenty of water and energy.
      •  Boil only as much water as you require: Tea and coffee drinkers can help here! Be careful with those kettles.

       3. Cut Down on Fuel

      no gas today

        Whenever possible, avoid driving in a car. Local journeys can be made by walking or cycling, and always look for public transport routes when travelling further.

        Obviously, these options are not available to everyone depending on personal circumstances, but cycling and walking will keep you active and help the local environment.

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        4. Share Car Rides

          Following on from point 3, if you have to travel by car, investigate the possibilities for carpooling with friends and neighbours, sharing journeys for work and leisure, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads. Many busy offices actively promote such schemes so ask around to see if you can take advantage of this.

          5. Go Organic

          go organic

            The food we consume has a profound effect on the global environment – as the world’s population grows, the demand for food increases and the strain on ecologies and habitats increases. The issues around food production, supply, and consumption are extremely complex, but there are some considerations that could help reduce the environmental impact of what you eat while also offering a healthy lifestyle include:

            • Choose local, seasonal produce.
            • If you eat meat, reduce the number of meals containing meat you eat each week.
            • If you eat fish, choose sustainably-sourced species and fishing methods.
            • Try and avoid fish contaminated with mercury (the result of industrial pollution) – you can use the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) guide to help you along.
            • Avoid food with unnecessary packaging, as this just leads to additional, unnecessary rubbish for your bin.
            • Always look for sustainable, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly food, as this helps the economy.

            6. Avoid Bottled Water

              Bottled water is inefficient, expensive, and produces large amounts of plastic waste. Instead, use a refillable water bottle and tap water; if you like you could use a water filter to cleanse the tap water and chill the water in the fridge. As the Mother Nature Network point out, the very concept of bottled water is failed due to our our ready access to perfectly healthy tap water.

              7. Ditch Plastic Bags

              plastic bag

                Plastic bags are appallingly wasteful to the environment. It is believed that 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in America each year, and only 1-3% of worldwide plastic bags are recycled. This means a huge amount of waste, much of which ends up in the wild areas. You can read more worrying facts from Envirosax, but you can also help a great deal by using Earth friendly bags (such as paper, of Bags For Life), and recycle any old plastic bags you have lying around.

                8. Save the Bees!

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                save the bees

                  There are plenty of environmental initiatives you can take up, but one of the most important is the need to save our bees. These little beasts are vital to pollenating the Earth’s vibrant ecosystem, but they have been dying out due to the use of pesticides. You can help matters by purchasing Organic Honey (to support natural bee keeping practices), or donate to bee charities to help promote their wellbeing. Friends Of The Earth are currently offering a Bee Saver Kit to help keep your garden/environment bee friendly.

                   9. Use Charity Shops

                  charity shops

                    Charity shops provide a way to recycle any unwanted items, find second-hand stuff and, importantly, supports the charitable cause of your choice.

                    10. Use Freecycle

                    freecyce.org

                      Freecycle is an internet-based service and community that allows users to share and discover reusable items. Before making a purchase, check out your local Freecycle community to see if you can find the item free of charge, and if you have unwanted goods in your house, use the service to recycle them. It’s easy to use and helps both your local community and the wider environment.

                       11. Share and Borrow

                      I love sharing

                        Books, CDs, DVDs, and more can be borrowed from libraries and friends. You can cut down on packaging and shipping by simply renting or borrowing something, and you can return the favour to your friends to get some proper social interaction going.

                         12. Green Gifts

                        green gift

                          When giving a gift consider a greener alternative, such as making your own present, or offering some of your time and skills to do a favour for your friend or loved one. You can also use environmentally-friendly companies, such as the Eden Project (pictured above). Whichever country you are in there will be suitable sources, so do a quick search to find a unique present.

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                           13. Grow Food in Your Kitchen/Garden

                          Bottle_garden

                            Growing food saves money, gives you an understanding of food production, and puts you in touch with nature. There is, of course, the problem of having neither the time or garden space to plant and nurture a whole vegetable patch, so head for something simple such as potted herbs or a potato sack, which can be grow effectively on a windowsill.

                             14. Make Cleaning Products!

                            galleryimage208300217-aug-3-2011-800x536

                              Modern household cleaning products are expensive, and often damaging to the environment, so a great green alternative is to make some yourself. Safe and environmentally-friendly substitutes use ingredients such as baking soda, soap flakes, lemon, cornstarch and vinegar. It’s quick to find recipes for them on the internet; try EarthEasy for a helping hand.

                              15. Choose Plant-Based Cleaning Products

                              KitchenPods

                                If you haven’t got time to make cleaning products, you can make the switch to environmentally-friendly options instead. Brands such as Ecover are made from natural, sustainable, plant-based ingredients that don’t leave chemical residue behind, and are biodegradable. Very handy for both your crockery and the local wildlife.

                                 16. Buy Recycled Paper

                                recycled paper

                                   Modern recycled paper is perfectly acceptable for most everyday document and letter printing.

                                   17. Go Paper-less

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                                    If you want to go a step further you can choose to go paperless! You can receive all your bills and letters from banks, energy companies, and other service providers by email. And remember: don’t print off documents unless it’s absolutely vital. You can also help the process by recycling any paper and card you no longer need.

                                     18. Repurpose Household Items

                                    repurpose

                                      Everybody should be recycling household items, but this often depends on the recycling provisions available in your local area. Another option for avoiding throwing away household goods is to repurpose them – adapting them for a new purpose in life (like witth the tin can chair above). This could be anything from empty jam jars used to store other food, tin cans turned into tea light holders, wine bottles adapted to become attractive vases or lampshades, or any other example of repurposing your imagination and creativity allows. Popular social media network Pinterest has a regular stream of such ideas for inspiration.

                                       19. Celebrate the Green Way

                                      green birthday party

                                        Big celebrations in our lives are often associated with extravagance and consumption. You can keep this as it should be, but you can be Green whilst you’re enjoying yourself. For instance, gestures such as making invitations from recycled materials, asking guests to bring homemade food, and selecting local/fair trade foodstuffs can all go a long way. At the end of the party you can collect all the used goods and repurpose them into something extravagant, if you’re the creative sort.

                                        20. Green Holidays

                                        green holidays

                                          Holidays can have damaging effects on the places tourists visit via fuel consumption, damage to local habitats, pollution, and distortions in economies. When planning a holiday you should consider green alternatives, or consider a “staycation” by enjoying a local holiday, thus reducing the environmental impact of vacationing, and benefiting/engaging with your local community, ecology, and economy. Green Loons is a great place to start; they offer some amazing destinations with the feel-good Green factor.

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                                          Alex Morris

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                                          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.

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                                          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.”

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                                          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.

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                                          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.

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                                          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!

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                                          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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