Pursuing presence is an essential part of being one. It is also quite important to the planet. The chaos and uncertainty that accompanies climate change make virtues such as composure, awareness and connectivity all the more important, allowing us to express ourselves at our best and manage our environment well. than. Fortunately, mindfulness—the act of “paying attention, with purpose, with curiosity and without judgment,” in the words of Jon Kabat Zin—is also an innate human habit, and a habit. can be exploited across time, space, and attention on a daily basis.
“Even in an urban setting—sitting by the window, perhaps in the morning, with a cup of tea or coffee—and simply making it a goal to be there in the morning is one thing,” says Micah Mortali, founder of the School. effective way to get started.” for Outdoor Mindfulness Leadership at Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center. Mortali recommends spending 10-15 minutes a day just it is in, breathe and pay attention to your surroundings. “This simple practice, done regularly over time, can be a powerful tool for bonding with the place,” he says.
According to mental health coach and counselor Julie Geeting, mental health coach and counselor at PALM Health, even adjusting your senses when washing your hands can put you on a path to survival. more mindfully. “I find that the demands of life often get in the way, and then people say, ‘I’ve tried it, it didn’t work for me,’” says Geeting. By focusing on a more integrated approach, mindfulness becomes a more sustainable practice—and can lead to a more sustainable life. “A person can use mindfulness practices as a starting point to gain a deeper understanding of who they are and how they connect with the world around them,” says Geeting.
Like many aspects of environmentalism, this change was personal but revolutionary—an individual action that benefits the collective in key ways. Mortali said: “The more we feel the love flowing between us and the life present around us, the more motivated we are to act in our lives to care about the world more than people. ,” Mortali said. “Engaging mindfully with the natural world is just a breath away.”
Here are four ways mindfulness can improve your health and that of the planet.
1. Calm and positive
The state of the environment is a primary concern in the modern world, so much so that it has led to a new kind of mental stress: climate anxiety. A 2021 study published in the journal Nature surveyed 10,000 young people, 45% of whom said “their feelings about climate change have affected their daily lives.”
While prioritizing the planet is important, doing the work from a place of peace and with a spirit of hope is likely to yield more results. Enter: mindfulness. “Enhancing a person’s presence has the potential to increase positive emotions and feelings of calm,” says Geeting.
“When one is able to observe one’s thoughts, patterns, and habitual reactions,” Mortali says, “the ability to react consciously rather than emotionally becomes available. “This leads to more ingenuity in life, less suffering and, hopefully, more happiness.” Improving the state of our world will be work—but we can also try to enjoy it and do it with thought and purpose rather than fear.
2. Awareness of daily habits
We all want to care for our planet. Unfortunately, that shared desire doesn’t always translate into our everyday actions, which tend to lean more toward the unconscious than the mindful. “Many of our daily routines are already automated by the brain, and we don’t think much about why we do certain things and what the bigger impact could be,” says Geeting. “Increasing awareness can help us reflect on these habits to see if they align with the kind of person we want to be.”
From products purchased to selected shipping methods to dietary habits, a little attention and intention can be the difference between wanting a more eco-friendly lifestyle and actually doing it. action on that desire. “Practicing mindfulness can enhance self-knowledge and increase the likelihood that a person will pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations they are experiencing—and be able to react to their life in a different way. ways that are helpful and relevant to their goals and values.”
3. Appreciate Nature
Hopefully you find yourself outside everyday. But how often do you slow down and look around? “Stop and smell the roses” may sound like a cliché, but celebrating the grandeur of nature is far from trivial—and it has huge benefits for you, too.
“Our nervous system responds to natural settings,” says Mortali. “It is possible that states of mindful awareness are part of normal life as we immerse ourselves in our natural habitat, the outdoors.” Practicing mindfulness not only becomes easier with the help of nature, but it also helps us stay alert to our surroundings. “Perhaps by spending more time walking outdoors with awareness, awareness of our breathing, and curiosity about what we can perceive through our senses, we can,” says Mortali. We can enjoy more of the beauty and fascination around us.
4. Increase connection
How can we hope to improve our relationship with the environment if we do not realize that we are part of it? Staying mindful helps to defuse illusions of separation and allows us to accept that our actions (and society’s inaction) affect every aspect of the natural world, including our own. not limited to people, weather, oceans, wildlife, our present, and our shared future. Living from this place naturally leads to a more thoughtful, environmentally conscious existence.
“When a person feels more connected, they often see the natural world and their own life in a new way,” says Geeting. This is essential for lasting happiness. Mortali agrees: “It is the bond we form with the land on which we live that is the catalyst for taking care of the planet.”
Carried away? Take the time you need to meditate—it can save the world.