Here’s the thing about good habits: they usually take time and effort to establish. Whether you want to start working out or wish to stop procrastinating, it’s no secret that you’re going to have to go through a period of discomfort. An eco-friendly lifestyle, no matter how attractive, requires the same type of sacrifices.

But one thing that many people disregard is that, although it’s a bit of a challenge, a green way of life also comes with many gifts. For one, you’ll be doing something good for the environment. But even more, by shifting your perspective and adopting a few ecologically conscious habits, you’re doing yourself a favor as well.

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So, if you’re on the fence as to why you should care about planet Earth, here are the top benefits you can get out of going green.

Save money

Rich or poor, we all agree on one thing: it’s good to spend less money. And the thing is, an eco-friendly lifestyle might help you do that.

Contrary to popular belief, going green does not have to mean spending thousands of dollars on organic food, building a brand new home with the latest sustainable practices, or throwing out every single item of clothing you own in order to buy slow fashion. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to value the things that you have.

By adopting the five Rs of sustainability, you’ll slowly learn how to make your things last longer. Even more, you’ll be more inclined to research your next purchase, which will end up providing you with more value over a longer period.

And there’s another financial benefit to living green: reduced utility bills. Switch out the lightbulbs in your household. Plug out appliances that are not in use. Take shorter showers. You’ll find you could save hundreds of dollars per year. Now think about all the amazing experiences you could buy with that money instead.

Boost your health

As a society, we’ve gone a long way from our original roots. Not only do we live on highly-processed, packaged foods, but we’ve also stopped spending time in nature and exercising. And in the long-run, this can only lead to numerous health consequences.

Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, even autoimmune disease, can all be treated by switching to an eco-friendly lifestyle.

    When we do our own cooking, using whole, locally grown ingredients, we avoid the harmful fats, sugars, and sodium that are so prevalent in fast food.
    Cycling to work instead of driving could help us become more active, taking care of our cardiovascular health.
    Going outside allows us to absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin D (without having to rely on supplements), and exposes us to fresh air. A daily nature walk could not only lead to weight loss but could also boost productivity and creativity, helping us do better at our jobs.

Reduce anxiety

Are you worried about the future or feeling anxious all the time? If the answer is yes, it’s good to know you’re not alone.

Research shows that as many as 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. When left untreated, it leads to restlessness, poor concentration, disrupted sleeping patterns, and a host of physical symptoms that could grow into something more serious down the line.

But the thing is, many of the activities that come with leading an eco-friendly lifestyle help manage these consequences. For example, spending time in nature or gardening may help lower stress levels. Similarly, eating a wholesome diet could prevent nutrition-related symptoms. Even the feeling of doing something good for others could help raise your endorphin levels, or teach you how to be more grateful.

Support your local community

Finally, don’t forget that the environment we spend time in has a huge impact on the people we share life with. So doing something good for your environment isn’t just going to impact you, but it will leave a mark on your neighbors as well.

When you shop locally, you’re supporting small businesses. If you start a community garden, you’re helping several families get access to affordable, healthy produce. By properly disposing of your trash, you’re minimizing the amount of plastic that ends up in your waterways and on your plate.

And yes, you may find yourself going against a few well-established misconceptions about green living. But in the end, it’s definitely going to be worth it – to you, your children, and everyone else.

Conclusion

Sure, eco-living does take more effort than just going with the flow of our consumerist society. But it’s also a practice you’re sure to find fulfilling, beneficial, and maybe even practical.

So, if you’re on the fence, decide to start small. You don’t have to go all-in. Instead, focus on the steps you can take now, and expand what you do as you become more comfortable. You’ll see, in just a few months, green living is going to become second nature. And you’ll have gained more than you will ever be able to describe.