24 Jun The Joy of Green Living: Why Green People are Happier People
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Green isn’t just a colour, it’s become a state of mind, a way of living. It’s love and respect for the emerald mother we inhabit. Green living means being conscious of our responsibility towards our environment and each other, but more than that, it means doing it spontaneously, because it makes sense, it makes us happy. The elements that create happy balanced people are inherent in a green attitude. It all begins with love, and love goes to where love is – starting at the very root.
Connecting with the pulse of your immediate environment is at the root of happiness. Green people are conscious of supporting their local farmers and businesses, participating in community activities such as growing food, swap shops and sharing, or projects such as composting and recycling. It’s personal and it can be gratifying to see results in their immediate environment. Supporting local food is also a valuable way for children to appreciate basic fundamentals; such as eggs come from chickens, and milk from cows, and develop a rewarding affection for these selfless creatures. Living in awareness of our interdependence can foster relationship skill-sets for healthy, happy co-operation. What we need more of in this world, wouldn’t you agree? A study in the British Medical Journal has reported that happiness spreads through populations from person to person like a virus, and that is one virus we all would like to catch!
Ever notice how when you walk or cycle in your local neighborhood, you tend to connect more – interacting with people, dogs, birds, cats, plants – soak up the atmosphere, notice details in a way you never would whizzing by in your car? Getting out of your gas guzzling car, lift-sharing, or using public transport, has a positive knock-on effect as we network with our local community, and experience a sense of relationship with our environment. And what better way to get the health-giving benefits of daily exercise, than reverting to the good old-fashioned bicycle, or your own two feet? Green choices for recreation, such as hiking, canoeing and surfing, also get green people out into nature and into their bodies in a wholesome, healthy way.
Leonardo da Vinci saw the human body as the microcosm of the Earth, and the Earth as the macrocosm of the human body. This kind of green thinking can bring a mindfulness as to how we nurture ourselves. Eating organic and natural, as well as discerning what products we use on our bodies and in our environment, are loving to your body as well as the Earth. Healthy body, healthy mind.
The growing trend to find creative ways to green cities, such as urban farms, rooftop food gardens and green architecture, has a myriad positive effects for our happy gauge; the beneficial psychological and emotional effects of nature and organic harmonious natural design in our environment are well-documented. Green people love to be surrounded by our leafy, feathered and furry friends, and are sensitive to the interplay of life in their living environment and so are more likely to beautify their surroundings with greening activities – urban paradise anyone?
Greener is Simpler
Thoreau wrote “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”. The plethora of choices facing us when it comes to our lifestyle can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety and a sense of waste. Green people tend to opt for a lifestyle that focuses on what is of lasting importance. What really matters, what really enhances our life in a sustainable, high-quality way? Simplifying choices relieves the stress of keeping up with the Joneses. A happy life is an authentic life.
And what would life be without good stories? The stories of the Earth are our stories too. Green consciousness extends into the realm of our dreams, our spirit, our inner life. The natural world has always been a symbolic part of our psycho-spiritual journey of healing and self-knowledge, the landscape upon which our stories unfold. Connecting to the natural wellspring and traversing the landscape of inspiration is what drives green people to new heights, creative endeavors, spiritual exploration, and personal fulfillment.
As the tree of life branches out from root, all the way to branch tip, in an organic and sustainably-grown nutshell (or perhaps acorn), green people can find happiness in every sphere of their lives by the simple act of loving and honouring the whole web of life.