Midweek Mental Greening

Last week, I told you about a Boston Globe article that discussed the negative mental health effects global warming is having on some people, and promised you some tips on how to deal with those kinds of effects – whether the issue is global warming, poverty, animal rights or any other matter that has you upset.

Check them out below.

Take action and get involved.

As I mentioned last week, sitting around and twiddling my thumbs has never been my thing. One of the best ways you can ensure something is being done is to do something. Whether it’s as easy as making sure your signature is on the petitions for causes you believe in or as involved as organizing a local chapter of your favorite nonprofit, you’ll feel better about yourself and the problem or issue with which you’re concerned.

But remember, the goal is to make a difference and help you decrease some of your stress and worries – not add to them – so whatever you do, make sure it’s within your means and abilities. In other words, don’t go out and commit yourself to a new hybrid (and the extra monthly payments and insurance costs) if you can’t afford it. Instead, consider walking, taking the bus, or getting a bike.

Understand that you are not all-powerful.

Nearly two years ago, I became a vegetarian – not because I didn’t like meat (though I can say I don’t now), but because I just couldn’t stand what I’d been learning about the meat industry. Upon hearing about my new lifestyle, people kept asking me, “Do you honestly think you’re making a difference? You’re just one person – you’re probably not even making a dent.” I thought long and hard about this and eventually realized my answer: “I understand that I can’t control the actions of others, but I can control my own. I can say I am making sure that I am doing what I feel is right.”

You are not the god to whom you pray, and you do not have control over every single thing. No matter how convincing you are, there are always going to be people who just don’t see things your way, and no matter how hard you work, you can’t do it all.

You do, however, have control over yourself. You can control your own actions. Relish that control, and use it well. It does make a difference.

Share the burden.

This may mean talking with a therapist, getting some free counseling from your friends, or even soliciting the help of others when it comes to an event you’ve planned or a cause in which you believe. Keeping things all bottled up, and placing all the responsibilities on your own shoulders, isn’t healthy and can wreak potentially devastating havoc on your psyche. Learning how to vent in a healthy way or delegate tasks to others who share your concerns and goals will help reduce your stress and anxiety.

Don’t neglect yourself.

It’s possible to become so involved with whatever cause you’re promoting or worries you have that you forget to take care of both your physical and mental well-being. Whether they’re basic things like nutrition and plenty of sleep or treats like long, relaxing baths and much-needed vacations, don’t forget to work them into your schedule. Remember: You won’t be any good to anyone else if you aren’t good to yourself. Cliché, yes – but true nonetheless.

Don’t forget to enjoy the present.

I didn’t agree with his overall opinion, but American Thinker’s Matt Spivey did make an excellent point in regard to the things that could happen “in the next 100 years.” Be careful not to get so absorbed in the future that you forget to enjoy the present. Your loved ones, your pets, your hobbies, snowy hills perfect for sleighs and warm sunshine that feels great on your face – these things are here today. Now. In the present. They won’t be around forever, so don’t forget to enjoy them while they are here.

So, what do you think? Are these tips you’ve used already, or do you have a few more to share that might help others?

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2009). It’s Possible to Nurture Yourself and Mother Nature. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/18/its-possible-to-nurture-yourself-and-mother-nature/

 

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