5 Tips (most likely reminders) on how to be mindful of self, community, and the planet!

1. Reusable bags

Duh. We all know this. Supermarkets and grocery stores are offering incentives, and it seems like reusable bags are available for purchase everywhere. But how often do we forget them at home? Knowledge and action are two very different things. Consider that the US consumes an average of 1 billion bags each year, and only 10% of all these plastic bags are actually recycled. Ugh. And what about the “trash soup” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Did you know it covers an area at least twice the size of the continental United States?

 

2. Water Use

Lets explore one small area of our lives where we can make a major difference: brushing our teeth. Dentists say that a healthy mouth requires us to brush our teeth 3 times a day for 2 minutes each brushing session…I will do the math based on the assumption that many of us just brush our teeth 2 times a day. Ok, so we brush our teeth for 4 minutes per day. Great. But not so great if we leave the water running while brushing our pearly whites. Considering, on average, a water tap puts out about 2 gallons per minute, if we leave the water running while brushing this would total 8 wasted gallons of water per day!  That is almost 3000 gallons a year! WHAT?!?!  If we had access to an infinite water supply source, perhaps this would not be such a big deal. But… news flash…we don’t. According to a US state department document, by the year 2030 the need for fresh water will exceed the supply by 40%! Yikes! That is only 17 years away. Pretty scary stuff.

 

3. Go for a walk

This is soooooo easy. Walking is one of the only exercises out there that requires nothing from us. We can do it anywhere, shoes or no shoes, and all it takes is a half an hour. On average, 100 calories are burned per mile, so a 30 minute walk can burn around 150 calories. If we walk 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, we burn almost 40,000 calories per year. If we use the commonly suggested formula that one pound of fat has 3500 calories, that is an equivalent to 10 lbs in a year! That is a pretty inspiring motivator. In a world where technology seems to be making it easier and easier to be sedentary, taking advantage of movement whenever possible is of the utmost importance. So go for a walk! Aside from weight management, walking is also a great way relieve depression, improve memory function and improve your heart health!

 

4. Practice Kindness…..for no reason other than to be kind

Do something nice for someone else… just because you can. Take flowers to a neighbor, buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in starbucks (my personal favorite), or maybe even take it further and go visit a retirement home (or some other charity that tugs at your heart strings). Go in to your community and see how you can be of service. Kindness makes us happy, and healthy. And believe it or not, there is science to prove it.

 

5. Make amends in your relationships.

This is so important. Apologize if your the doer, and forgive if you are the receiver. Another no brainer, but often times this is easier said than done. Taking accountability for an act of wrongdoing can be very difficult, and it sometimes seems more appealing to justify our actions instead of being accountable for them. On the flip side, forgiveness can seem nearly impossible. Forgiveness can be perceived as a justification for the offensive or hurtful act, and it can even appear as a sign of weakness. Ugh.  I am of the opinion that, most things considered, making things right and moving on are detrimental to our health. We need to surround ourselves with positive, healthy relationships, and we must heal the wounds that harness us to our past. When we hold grudges or deny accountability, depression, guilt, stress, high blood pressure and even anxiety can be experienced. Sometimes unhealthy behavior patterns are developed, and this can lead to difficulties in our every day lives. Why not make choices and take action to be happy and healthy? It is an option, after all.

 

Want to read more?

Apologizing can be tricky, here is an article on how to do it effectively…

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/making_peace_through_apology

Why forgiveness matters…

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget

Kindness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-r-hamilton-phd/kindness-benefits_b_869537.html

Walking

http://www.medicinenet.com/walking/article.htm

Water Use

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/03/22/world-water-day-a-forceful-reminder-that-the-u-s-is-running-out-of-fresh-water/

“Trash Soup”

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/the-worlds-rubbish-dump-a-tip-that-stretches-from-hawaii-to-japan-778016.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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