Environmental sustainability is a vital factor in addressing climate change and the impact it has on our lives.
Here at MTS Psychotherapy, I like to think positively, and so I agree with US energy provider Inspire Clean Energy, who suggest that, rather than simply worrying about climate change, we should do something about it. The company states:
As individuals, we can take small but effective steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle, like using less water, reducing our meat consumption and switching to reusable products to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics.
Putting this attitude into action means that I’m actively looking for ways to change both my working practices and the equipment and products I use so that they – and therefore me – cause less harm to the environment.
In brief, I am trying to introduce the concept of environmental sustainability into my life – both at work and at home.
Environmental sustainability can be defined as interacting with the planet responsibly, conserving natural resources and protecting global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing, now and in the future.
Nature and mental health
But there’s another good reason for me to care about the natural world.
From a professional perspective, I’m aware that experiencing the positive impact of nature can help people with mental health issues manage their stress levels and feel more relaxed.
As someone who cares passionately about promoting good mental health, it’s therefore in my professional interest to help tackle the environment crisis – and to encourage others to do so too.
Organisations specialising in mental health issues are aware of the benefits that nature brings to people who are struggling with their mental wellbeing, and therefore encourage them to use the natural world in whatever way they can to support their emotional wellbeing.
Here are some thoughts, advice and examples from three well-known organisations:
Reducing my environmental footprint
There are many ways to reduce our impact on the planet, including using the car less, cutting down on red meat consumption and switching to greener energy.
By being eco-conscious, I’ve found numerous ways to reduce my own environmental footprint at work, including reducing my energy usage, producing less waste and making more environmentally friendly choices when shopping.
I use a laptop computer rather than a desktop (and turn it off when it’s not being used); I choose recycled paper for printing (and prefer to use digital formats where possible); and I actively seek out local products and suppliers.
At home, my efforts to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle mean that I recycle, reduce my use of plastic, use bamboo toilet paper, choose home cooking and baking, make my own washing powder and household cleaning materials, use environmental friendly hair and body care, and even make my own skin care and deodorant.
I also have a smart meter to track my energy usage, use energy-efficient light bulbs, walk a lot and try not to use my car unless really necessary.
Together we can make a difference!
To sum up: I believe that environmental health is as important as mental health and emotional wellbeing, both of which I take very seriously at MTS Psychological Health.
I also believe that we should not be aiming for perfection when trying to live more sustainably, but instead that we should each be seeking out opportunities for cutting out single use plastic, and for recycling and reusing items.
If we all do just a few little things to reduce our impact on the planet, then together we can make a big difference both to environmental sustainability and to our mental wellbeing and physical health.