Wellness is not only charismatic in style but also dynamic in scope. We may not think much about Environmental Wellness as part of a wholeness plan, but our well-being is closely tied to the health of our environment, and how we feel about it can have a huge impact on the way we feel overall. Environmental well-being includes trying to live in harmony with the Earth by understanding the impact of our daily interactions with nature and our personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around us. Protecting ourselves from environmental hazards and minimizing the negative impact of our behavior on our habitat, can lead to a lifestyle that is respectful to our environment and minimizes any harm done to it. Examples of environmental threats include: air pollution, ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight, chemicals, noise, water pollution, second-hand smoke, and even negative energy in your personal space. As an eco-conscious and health-conscious individual, you are likely experienced in matters of the environment and your physical health. But how much time do you really spend thinking about the connection between these two? Have you ever thought about your fate and whether it lies in the hands of the environment or your genes? As we dig deeper into how we, as humans, interact with our environment, we see connections between the conditions in which we live and our propensity for certain illnesses.
Physical environment can be related to healing and well-being. According to the World Health Organization, chronic and non-infectious diseases are rapidly becoming epidemic worldwide. Escalating rates of neurocognitive, metabolic, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. Which cannot be attributed only to our genetics, lifestyle, and nutrition; ongoing exposures and bio-accumulated toxicants are involved and might be the main cause of chronic diseases. In recent years the environment we grow up in (and continue to expose ourselves to) is proving to be equally important—considering that environmental factors may be the key to understand these diseases.
Chronic disease recoveries and reversals do happen. Most of us have heard at least one story about a child miraculously overcoming asthma, ADHD, or behavioral problems. This often happens when determined parents take things into their own hands and invest in making lifestyle modifications, addressing environmental triggers and adopting a truly integrative approach. While unfortunately these are isolated cases, most people (adults and children included) who have been diagnosed with a new illness, are immediately put on medication and told they must live with their new condition for a lifetime. Why not study the success stories and uncover how and why some individuals are able to heal? Once we identify the changes that worked and those that didn't, we can then use that information to develop best practices and inform future treatment protocols.
When you think of a healing environment, what comes to your mind? a Japanese garden, a relaxing spa? Perhaps a corner of your house? Few of us would immediately think of a hospital. But that is beginning to change as healthcare organizations pay attention to the growing body of research that demonstrates the benefits of healing environments. Among other things, these researches reveal that specific design changes in healthcare environments can reduce and alleviate the consequences of stress. These changes can also help reduce medical errors and hospital-acquired infections, while improving staff morale and efficiency.
- Being aware of the earth's natural resources and their respective limits.
- Living a life accountable to environmental needs, both in the present and in the long-term.
- Realizing the effects of our daily habits. (E.g. are you engaged in the process of environmental wellness? Do you recycle? Are you aware of your surroundings at all times?)
- Taking measures to create and improve a healthy pleasing environment. (E.g. having plants in your office as they can do more than simply improving your mood, but actually, affect your immune system and physical health).
- Cutting the clutter to avoid dirty, polluted and chaotic environment that may, later on, cause you worry, and make you ill. (E.g. start with your home, keep an area free from clutter from now on—and build on it by tackling one additional area at a time.)
- Enhancing natural daylight is associated with improved mood, boosted morale, lower fatigue, and reduced eyestrain. Take advantage of any natural light you have, and then supplement it with a variety of light sources, such as a floor lamp or solar powered light.)
- Dedicating time to volunteer and promote worthy environmental causes. (E.g. getting involved in organizations like “The Nature Conservancy”, American Forests, Greenpeace or Conservation International to help protect ecologically important lands and waters in your local State or Internationally).
The environmental dimension of wellness involves accepting the impact we have on our world and doing something about it. However, environmental wellness encompasses more than just sustainability.
Always remember that anyone and anything that surrounds you can affect your environmental wellness.