Waking up and deciding to take care of the planet is not always an easy decision…
…in fact, it’s a pretty heavy burden to carry. I know this firsthand. The day I decided to switch all my chemically ridden skincare and beauty products for cleaner options, I was suddenly reading the back of every single product I considered buying, and still do the same now. I was as conscious about what I was putting on my skin as I was the impact it would have on our environment. I recycled all plastic carrier bags and purchased eco-friendly alternatives to have on hand when shopping, and I’m always conscious of how to shop without taking home excess plastic. I started scouring products for palm oil and refused to buy them if it popped up on the ingredients list. I stopped buying leather and clothing that wasn’t ethically made. And you know what? It can be exhausting.
Every day, I wonder if my actions, the way in which I’m living, is the best way to live for our environment – and on a greater scale – our planet. I’m always striving for ways to be better, to live more sustainably. It takes dedication, and that dedication takes energy. And as someone who at times suffers from a loss of motivation, during those tougher moments, meditation steps in and lends a helping hand
Here are five ways mindful meditation can help you tap into your environmental ethos:
1. Boosts Energy Levels
So, sometimes being an eco warrior gets more than a little exhausting. It’s a full-time job, and while those who live to take care of the planet do so out of passion, it can easily become tiring. From checking whether ingredients to sourcing ethical goods, clean and cruelty-free products, nobody can deny that those who are conscious of their footprint go to greater efforts than those who don’t—and at times it can feel overwhelming. This is where mindful meditation can help to reboot your energy. Not only are you taking a moment to really focus on yourself, but it will also increase productivity. Meditation puts more time into your day. If you invest an hour into meditation, you will get an hour back via increased productivity.
Whether you have a spare five minutes, ten, thirty or an hour, use that time to meditate. Meditation will tackle energy-draining stresses and leave you feeling revived. It will also greatly improve your quality of sleep, which will in turn leave you more refreshed the following day. And if tiredness hits you out of nowhere, and you’re considering a nap—meditate instead. Meditation won’t leave you with that sluggish confusion that naps sometimes do, and instead you’ll put that spring back in your step.
2. increases empathy
If you’re someone that strives to be as sustainable as possible, the likelihood is that you’re already an empathetic person. But even the best of us have days when our mood wins over our compassion, and stress is the catalyst that makes it nearly impossible to care for anything in those situations.
This is when mindful meditation can help shift us from a selfish space in order to see the bigger picture. Meditation will allow us to feel calm and more mindful, and it will increase our kindness and reconnect us with our beliefs.
Meditation opens you up to see kindness, both to give and receive. The simple act of walking down the street can feel entirely different after a meditation practice. You’ll notice people, and be more inclined to engage with them. A simple, ‘Hello’ as you pass by someone will be a sure way of putting a smile on their face, while making you feel good, too.
3. encourages mindfulness
By meditating, you will become more mindful. A regular meditation practice will help you bring your attention to the present moment and make you more aware on a regular basis. It’s this awareness that will link you to yourself, to others and to the environment—all with a compassionate attitude.
After meditating, you’ll be able to connect to your thoughts, your feelings, your surroundings and you’ll be fully present in the moment—you’ll have a heightened awareness of the world. This will have a positive influence in all areas of your life; in fact, you may discover you’re less likely to buy things on a whim as you’ll become more conscious of when you’re shopping to fill an emotional void versus a true need.
4. takes away materialistic needs
Once your world is open up to sustainable living, you begin to see the world differently. Those materialistic possessions that you previously cherished may become tainted. I for one was an avid shoe collector, spending upwards of $800 on one single pair of shoes. I now look at those items that previously bought me so much (superficial) happiness, and I no longer have the same mindset. My lifestyle is no longer about material objects; it’s about practicality. When I need clothing, I source clothes that are made to last, made in an ethical fashion, and ideally, clothes that support the hands that made them.
Another way meditation can open up your world is by replacing the materialistic need with memories. Instead of spending hundreds on one object, you’ll feel more inclined to put those funds towards a trip.
Meditation will also help you to save money. Not only will those pricey possessions become less desirable, but you may discover that rather than sitting in and watching TV, or going to places that cost money, you’ll want to spend your spare time doing activities such as reading a book, or taking a walk or even the simple and yet rich act of sitting and having a conversation with a friend or loved one. You’ll become more present in the moment and be more aware of your surroundings.
5. can link you to like-minded people
Building your meditation practice around a group of like-minded people will bring a real sense of community to your life. You’ll build strong bonds with those around you, and in bringing you all together, it will open up your circle to people with similar views to you, which will make your lifestyle easier to practice. While it’s easy to accept that not everyone views the world the same way you do, it can get frustrating when you’re surrounded by people that live the opposite of how you live; meditation within a group will help you to build a support system in your life, which will benefit you greatly.
When you’re around people who understand the way in which you choose to live, while also adopting the same approach to life, it causes your compassion to grow stronger and it will also deepen your own practice.
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