Did you know there’s such a thing as environmental grief? It’s the despair we feel when we look at the state of the environment around us. From wildlife woes to climate instability, there are plenty of issues and concerns to keep us up at night.

Thankfully, there are also plenty of ways we can do our part. By taking even baby steps toward a greener lifestyle, we not only make a difference for the environment we live in, but we also claim a host of mental health benefits, to boot.

Have you been considering adopting a more eco-friendly approach to daily living? If so, read on. Today, we’re sharing five ways that going green can impact and improve your mental health.

1. Gives a Sense of Belonging

Giving back to Mother Earth immediately makes us a part of something greater. This builds a sense of community and helps us feel connected to others around the world who share in our journey and beliefs.

As we become more mindful of the resources we’re using and take steps to, say, start a compost pile or recycle our bottles, it means we’re giving back to our community. This deepens our sense of meaning and purpose.

The result? We’re less isolated, anxious and depressed. Though environmentalism runs much deeper than this, we now have a talking point. We have something to say and a group of peers to share it with. In other words, we find our niche.

2. Puts Us in Touch with Nature

We live in an always-on society. We’re attached to our smartphones, constantly checking our email and glued to our television sets. That said, we rarely go outside barefoot and get our feet dirty. We’ve taken to exploring through apps and traveling online rather than in-person.

When we’re more eco-conscious, however, that all changes. We’re more aware of our connection to nature and the role it plays in our lives. In turn, we can look inward and see ourselves in a clearer light. We listen to our bodies, eat whole foods to fill them and practice proper self-care.

When we’re immersed in nature, we’re more prone to slow down, listen to and realize our true needs, and then take meaningful steps to fulfill them.

3. We Quell Our Fears

Put simply, fear sells. It’s what the anchorman on the evening news knows and deep down, what you know to be true as well.

If you suffer from any form of anxiety, you know that it can heighten when you’re in a state of panic. If you rely on outside sources to inform you about environmental affairs, you could send your nerves through the roof.

Conversely, knowledge is a powerful defense. Read industry magazines on what’s new in the world of green living. Attend a seminar on gardening. Learn the latest on renewable energy, including the exciting connection between lithium batteries and solar power

In other words, soak up all the lessons you can. The universe is your classroom! Realize that all is not doom and gloom and that there is a horizon up ahead.

4. Empowers Us to Act

If you’ve ever felt marginalized, you know it can be difficult to step out of your comfort zone. Yet, it’s difficult to stay in the shadows if you’re planting your own garden, biking to work and collecting rainwater for your plants.

When we take even the tiniest steps to make the world a better place, we can pat ourselves on the back! We’re not panicked, stressed out or worried out of our minds. How can we be? We just made homemade laundry detergent! We made dinner from our farmer’s market haul! We harvested our own vegetables from the garden.

5. Teaches the Art of Minimalism

You’ve likely seen the Netflix series, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” It centers on the art of minimalism and how we actually need far less than we think we do. While this series has taken the world by complete storm, it’s nothing new to those who prioritize the environment.

When we live by nature’s rules, we’re less concerned with amassing material things and more concerned with being at peace and finding unity. We only take the things we need, we go slower now, and we consider with every step how it’s impacting the Earth for future generations.

Mental Health and the Earth: One Aim, Multiple Benefits

As you strive to become as eco-friendly as possible, you’ll need to change your lifestyle along with your habits.

You’re defined by what you spend your free time doing. If this mantra rings true, then going green starts at home. Take small steps in this direction and notice the big difference they make. You’ll feel better physically, your anxious nerves will be calmed and you’ll be ready to face the day -- one step at a time.

Author's Bio: 

Courtney is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional research and writing experience.