Living ethically is obviously better for the planet and the animals. But is it better for the consumer? Does making better choices positively impact your mental health? Well, the answer is yes! So let’s go over why being kinder to the earth is a great way to be kinder to yourself.
Being an Ethical Consumer
The mental process (or journey) involved in repurchasing ethical commodities is important. Purchases based on self-actualization instead of guilt make ethical consumers happier when it comes to buying fair trade products. According to a 2016 study, when you follow the path of “narcissism to self-actualization, self-actualization to happiness, and self-actualization to repurchase intentions” you end up feeling more content with your choices, and therefore happier in general.
So what does it mean to be self-actualized? Well, when you realize the impact you can have on your surroundings, you feel more empowered as an individual who can vote with their dollar, and then you appreciate that you need to make the right choices. Self-actualization encourages an “I matter and I can make a difference!” attitude whenever you purchase the more ethical coffee, chocolate, and clothing.
We associate serotonin with exercise, but did you know a plant-based diet can also help raise your serotonin levels? Higher carb meals increase serotonin levels in the brain and help “tryptophan… cross the blood-brain barrier.” Tryptophan produces serotonin, which in turn makes you feel happier. On the flip side, a diet high in protein and animal products limits serotonin production in the brain. Of course, you could eat a higher-carb diet and not be plant-based, but animal products simply don’t encourage the high levels of serotonin that plant carbohydrates do.
A Healthy World Makes Us Happy
Ethical living encourages a healthier world, which scientifically makes us even happier! This should come as no surprise, especially since the rates of climate anxiety and climate grief are higher than ever before.
Humans and all other living things are interconnected, therefore “nature has a direct, positive impact on happiness shaped by our evolutionary origins”. Picture yourself in a lush forest or on top of a rolling hill in the middle of spring, good emotions stir up, right? To deny that humans are connected to nature and other wildlife is to deny that we too are just animals – regardless of how incredibly smart we are as a species! Green nature makes us happier, less stressed, more optimistic, and self-regulated, while air and noise pollution are stressors and interrupt this natural connection.
Encourages Happy Behaviors
Big natural spaces open to the public encourage physical exercise and social interaction. This improves people’s mental and physical health, which ultimately makes people happier! It’s a simple but important idea, and we can’t have those beautifully clean and green spaces if we don’t live in a manner that respects our environment and everything that lives in it! A sunny day makes people want to run, or hang out with friends in the park. Both of those things make people happy, and the thriving natural space deserves all the credit.
Live Happy, Stay Happy
There are plenty of ways to live more ethically. You can purchase more fair trade products, limit the amount of mass-produced clothing you buy, and remove animal products from your diet. These are just a few ways to be kinder to the earth and all of the people that work incredibly hard to give us the commodities we often take for granted.
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