I searched for the definition of Sustainable Lifestyle and here is what I got: “Sustainable Living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources. It is also called “earth harmony living” or “net zero living”.
Being able to create a sustainable lifestyle requires a lifelong commitment – learning, experimenting, exploring, committing to increasingly sustainable practices and, above all, embracing these practices. Because despite all of the frightening news; the frustrating politics; the failed international agreements, there exists one important question – how do you want to spend your life? In fear or in peace? The fear route will also make you feel defeated and helpless and frustrated. On the other hand, the peace root makes you feel grounded, purposeful , organized and hopeful.
Sustainability requires a complete shift in how we live our lives. From the clothes we buy, the energy we use, the food we eat, to the toothpaste we brush our teeth with. Every choice we make impacts others – through its creation, its distribution, its use and its disposal. And most likely we'll never be able to know – or even see – who we are impacting.
Choosing a life of peace requires a lot of work, rethinking, a lot of soul searching. The question which has to be answered with every choice we make is: how peaceful and happy this choice is going to make my life? Living, obviously, involves impacting others, one cannot escape from that. But is our impact unnecessarily harmful or is it based on a conscious choice which minimizes harm done and maximizes benefits? This is what differentiates our living from that of the rest.
It now certainly becomes clear that choosing a life of love requires us to change just about every aspect of our lives – to change how we choose to spend our days. It involves shifting our lifestyle away from consumption and towards more sustainable activities such as:
• biking or using public transport
• collaborating with others (i.e., sharing tools or carpooling)
• becoming more self-reliant (i.e., learning how to repair belongings, sewing, growing food or taking skill-building classes)
• learning how to cook with local, sustainable produce
• joining a local sustainability community
• volunteering on local sustainability projects
• shifting the mode of entertainment to low impact activities such as spending time in nature and reading downloaded or library books.
At least two studies of groups that chose to change their lifestyle to achieve personal values such as "happy living" and "voluntary simplicity" found that both experienced higher levels of well-being.
People who made their life goals, intrinsically rewarding obtain more satisfaction and pleasure from their pursuits. Intrinsic goals are those that one pursues because they are inherently satisfying and meaningful to them, which allows them to grow as a person, to develop emotional maturity, and to contribute to their community.
Activities related to sustainable living that one inculcates in ones daily habits are more happiness-inducing, with its ability to deliver a stream of positive events and regular boosts in happy mood.
An increasing number of studies have reported that experiences in, or of, Nature can be immensely beneficial for human health and well being. More specifically, contact with Nature has been claimed to have psychological benefits by reducing stress, improving attention, by having a positive effect on mental restoration, and by coping with attention deficits. In addition to these mental advantages, there appears to be direct physical health benefits, for instance increased longevity, and self-reported health.
There is solid proof to support the perennial hypothesis that benevolent emotions, attitudes, and actions centered on the good of others have a large impact on the giver's happiness, health, and even longevity.
The "helper's high" [a pleasurable and euphoric emotional sensation of energy and warmth] i.e. people who helped other people consistently reported better health than peers in their age group. Many stated that this health improvement began when they started to volunteer.
In early egalitarian societies, people practiced institutionalized or "ecological altruism," where helping others was a social norm, and not an act of volunteerism. There appears to be a fundamental human drive towards other-regarding actions. When this drive is inhibited, the human being does not thrive.
It's a lot of work and but it brings many positive benefits: increased joy and satisfaction and a sense of purpose and improved health. It also brings a greater sense of community – a much wider community than we normally identify with.
Three Essential Steps to be practiced in 2020:
Shifting to a sustainable lifestyle may involve making radical shifts in how one spend their days. But in 2020 integrating these changes into our lives has become very essential.
There are three essential steps for living sustainably that ought to be practiced in 2020:
1. Simplifying: Simplify as much as possible – minimizing, decluttering in all areas of life – is the first of three essential steps for kick-starting a sustainable life.
2. Taking a Full Inventory: Taking a thorough inventory of ones life – the purchase of products and services, the mode of transportation, etc. is the second important step. It helps one to really understand how they have been living now in order to identify and shift away from unsustainable choices.
3. Making a Lifelong Commitment: An honest, lifelong commitment is required to make the most loving choice each and every time. The first two steps help to build sustainability into our lives, making this commitment easier to keep. It also gets a lot easier as our satisfaction with our new lifestyle grows.
Inculcate in your life things and activities that you find useful and/or you love. De-clutter the rest to provide you ample space and time your space and time. Donate unneeded goods to charity program or to those who need them. Getting rid of everything you don't need or that might never get used and cutting out any activities that don't add enough value to your life is one of the most effective ways to start a sustainable life. The surroundings you choose to build around yourself impacts what your mind focuses on.
By creating a de-cluttered home, you are reflecting your intention of living sustainably every day. Simplifying helps you get rid of a lot of garbage (including mental) that you no longer require. It is a process of letting go of the past and focusing on how you want to live your life ahead.
Simplifying also helps you remain committed to not re-clutter your life. You end up buying much smartly at stores – which makes it easier to buy sustainably.
If you still find that you're buying too much, try the 30-day challenge, i.e. if you want to purchase something unessential, wait for 30 days and see if you still need to buy it – and in the meantime try to make do with what you already have, borrow, or buy used.
Taking a Full Inventory
While you’re simplifying, conduct a thorough inventory of all your purchasing habits. This is the second important step in creating a sustainable life and it also helps with reducing clutter. By getting a clear picture of how you are living your life currently, at a much detailed level you can kick start the process of shifting toward more valuable choices.
III. Making a Lifelong Commitmen
The final step and the most important of the three is to remain committed for lifelong to making the most meaningful choices every time. It involves re-defining how we want to spend our lives. This step is at first might seem quite difficult but, through if practiced honestly, one gains a real sense of purpose and comes to realise that they really are treating others as they would like to be treated.