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  • Writer's pictureOlga Shavrina

Backed by Science: Eco-Friendly Habits Boost Happiness

Updated: Jan 1

Many people think that being planet-friendly is costly and decreases well-being, associating it with deprivation and inconvenience, which they believe leads to unhappiness. However, it appears to be the exact opposite: eco-friendly behavior actually boosts happiness and well-being.

Eco-Friendly Habits Boost Happiness

Of course, there's no single recipe for happiness. I would be thrilled to tell you, 'Eat carrots, recycle plastic, and replace light bulbs, and you'll be happy,' but it's not that simple. However, multiple studies confirm that eco-friendly choices lead to higher life satisfaction, improved mental and physical health, and a sense of finding meaning in life.

Eco-Friendly Habits Boost Life Satisfaction

Several groups of researchers explored people’s overall life satisfaction and revealed that planet-friendly choices correlate with higher satisfaction rates. The scientists focused on the subjective perceptions of citizens who participate in activities like buying more expensive electric vehicles, using energy-efficient appliances, purchasing organic food, or making direct donations for climate protection, such as carbon offsetting, in comparison to those who don’t.

A 2022 paper based on a study of 1,614 German citizens reveals that activities related to environmental and climate protection are strongly positively correlated with life satisfaction.

A study of Australian and US citizens showed that 'Nearly 77% of eco-conscious consumers were satisfied with their life, compared to 54.8% of consumers who weren’t eco-conscious

Percentage of eco-conscious and non eco-conscious people satisfied with their life

It doesn't mean that in order to be satisfied with your life, you need to throw away all the items from your home and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives. It means that when you plan your next purchase, activity, investment, or a gift, considering an eco-friendly option might be a really good idea.

This is what Planet-Friendly Choices is about – helping you make a thoughtful choice when a purchase is necessary, and hopefully, persuading you to reconsider the need for a purchase in the first place as in many cases, the most planet-friendly choice is not to buy anything at all.

Going Green Offers Meaning

Why sustainable actions do lead to positive emotions?

The answer is rooted in a fundamental psychological need: the human quest for meaning. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology supports this finding. The study notes, 'Acting sustainably is often perceived as a moral choice and, thus, as a meaningful course of action, which can elicit positive emotions, particularly when people choose to engage in those actions and feel that acting sustainably is an important personal goal.' Even though acting unsustainably (or 'business-as-usual') is often more convenient, it tends to lead to less positive, more meaningless emotions.

Planet-Friendly Choices Improve Self-Image

What we think about ourselves plays a huge role in our daily lives, overall success, and life satisfaction. 

There's a significant difference between thinking, 'I’m a human who contributes to destroying the environment and does nothing useful,' and 'I’m a living being who respects nature and helps make the world a better place.'

As revealed in a Dutch study, acting environmentally-friendly feels good because this behavior signals something positive about who you are. This effect is even stronger when the eco-friendly choice is made voluntarily.

Quotes of people who practice eco-friendly habits

A 2020 study confirmed that eco-friendly choices make people feel positive about their behaviors, known as the 'warm glow' effect, and about themselves more generally.

Environmental Impact on Mental Health

Climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and other environmental hazards affect our mental health and contribute to increased stress levels, provoking climate anxiety. Living sustainably can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, strengthen friendships, and enhance enjoyment in every moment of life through several ways:

Choosing to spend time in nature or being exposed to small urban green areas improves our well-being

  • Taking conscious actions to protect the environment by choosing eco-friendly products and activities makes us feel empowered and happy to contribute to a solution, thereby reducing anxiety and stress.

  • Opting for local, fresh food often leads to local markets where you can connect with friendly people, improving mental health. It might even lead to community gardens or volunteering at a local farm, which helps build meaningful connections and friendships.

  • Choosing eco-friendly products for your home reduces the impact of chemicals on your body, leading to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, not to mention physical health improvements.

Start Small and Feel Good 

As discussed above, planet-friendly habits greatly benefit health, well-being, mental health, and overall life satisfaction. The best part is, you don’t need to go all-in green immediately, recycle all your non-eco goods, donate all your money to charity, or apply for green volunteering. I mean, it’s fantastic if you do :) but starting small is also a great option.

Choose a plastic-free organic shampoo bar, biodegradable scrubbing pads for dishes over traditional ones, or an eco-friendly laundry detergent. You'll feel great, and after that, you'll likely be inspired to make more planet-friendly choices. We’ll be here, happy to support you.


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