Living eco-friendly isn’t just good for the planet; it’s also amazing for the health of your mind and body!

All of the things you are doing to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint can have a huge impact on your health.

You’ll find that taking eco-friendly steps will not only improve your physical health, but also your mental health.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going green at home, at work, or at school. What matter is that you’re making the effort, and you’ll start seeing the benefits of living eco-friendly more profoundly than you’d expect!

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways going green can improve your mental health:

Cleaner Home, Cleaner Mind

A lot of people who go green start off by removing strong chemicals from their home, particularly the chemical-laden cleansers, solvents, bleaches, and other cleaning agents. Changing to a natural, chemical-free cleanser or cleaning agent can reduce the amount of chemicals produced, as well as prevent those chemicals from leaching into groundwater or soaking into the ground around your house.

But did you know that cutting these cleansers out of your life can also have a direct benefit to your mental health? A lot of the household cleaning products you use—like toilet cleanser, stain remover, and laundry detergent—contain chemicals that can harm your health. They can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches, but more importantly, they can alter your brain chemistry and affect your hormones. This can lead to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress triggered by the imbalance of neurochemicals.

Eliminating these cleaning products from your life can be one step toward restoring a healthy balance of hormones and neurochemicals.

Greater Connection to the World

The simple act of recycling is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. By going out of your way to recycle rather than throw away your garbage, you can drastically decrease the amount of waste going into landfills and thereby damaging the environment.

But here’s another benefit of recycling: it helps you become part of something greater than yourself. Being eco-minded means thinking about not just yourself, but your community, your city, and the world at large. This sort of eco-mindedness actually helps to form a feeling of connectedness to the world around us, and gives us a sense of worth and purpose. This connected feeling is one of the best antidotes to depression and anxiety!

Heathier Body, Healthier Emotions

When you try to follow an eco-friendly diet, typically that means eating raw, unpackaged, and unprocessed foods that are free of chemicals. You’ll end up eating nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains that are as untreated as possible, as well as organic.

Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s great for your brain and your mental health. So many of the harmful chemicals and toxins in processed food can contribute to higher anxiety and depression risk. The high-sugar, high-carb, highly-processed foods so popular in the Western diet can increase your risk of mood disorders—or, if you already suffer from mood disorders, make the symptoms worse.

Cleaning up your diet to include only raw, natural, and organic food can do wonders to improve your physical health. You can lose weight, detoxify your body, improve your digestion, and help your internal organs work better overall. And in doing so, you’ll improve your brain function and decrease your risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and many other mental health problems.

Outdoor Work Benefits Your Brain

For those who are taking the step of growing their own produce or planting an organic garden, the benefits are surprisingly broad.

First off, you get to eat produce that you know is absolutely healthy and free of chemicals. This is directly going to improve your physical health.

Second, you’ll get to spend more time exercising and moving around while you work on your garden. The more you move, the healthier your body and the more balanced your mind. Exercise and movement will help to decrease stress, improve your mood, and relax you.

Finally, you’ll be spending more time outdoor in the sunshine and in nature. You’ll be exposed to direct sunlight, which triggers a release of “feel good” neurochemicals that can elevate your mood. And, of course, being around plants, trees, and other natural “green” life can have a calming effect on your mind that will decrease anxiety.

Learn New Things Every Day

You’re going to have to spend a lot of time studying eco-friendly habits, changes, and actions in order to fully embrace this new lifestyle. It’s not going to be an overnight change where you suddenly live a “green” life, but you’ll have to work hard and study to learn more about how your actions directly affect the environment.

You’ll find that all the time you spend studying and learning more about going eco-friendly can do wonders for your mental health. Not only will you be absorbing new information and expanding your mindsets, but you’ll gain greater control over your thought processes and be more mindful in your daily life. The more you know, the less likely you are to suffer anxiety or stress over the unknown.

A Healthier, Happier Home

A healthy home is a happy home! Going eco-friendly can help to improve the ambience in your home. You’re going to be more conscious of every action, so you’ll find you act with more purpose, and that gives you a greater sense of control over your life.

As you take steps to shrink your carbon footprint in your house, you’ll find you rely more on nature—natural light, natural ventilation, natural heating, etc. You’ll end up exposed to more direct sunlight, fresh air, and the elements, all of which will boost your mood and improve your mental health.