Food, the environment, and our mind
Last month (October) was World Mental Health Day.
We dedicate and relate this article to this very important topic.
You may have heard that the space where you normally spend your days, such as your workspace, affects your mental health.
What if we told you that the entire planet does it too?
The United Nations cited a study that shows how living through a tumultuous climate crisis has affected the mental health of Greenland residents. Since an ecological crisis often leads to job instability, extreme weather, and economic issues, this is not surprising.
The study claims that Greenlanders' depression levels were increasing as they became more exposed to the front lines of environmental change.
There is also a correlation between air pollution and depression, anxiety, dementia and suicide.
A study carried out in Psychiatry shows how children are three to four times more likely to develop depression if they were exposed to air pollution until the age of 12.
The UK Mental Health Foundation released a report in 2021, according to which a person's degree of connection with nature or thoughts about it can positively affect their mental state.
While nature is basically everywhere, the report states that high-quality natural spaces are most likely to improve mental health.
So it makes sense that as this high-quality nature depletes, so too does our mental balance suffer and fade away.
However, there is hope!
The Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Foundation published an article
detailing how consuming sustainably can improve your mental health.
They discussed how working for the environment gives us a sense of purpose, teaches us to be mindful, instills gratitude and a sense of belonging, and reduces the risk of developing stress-related disorders.
Not to mention that small acts like cycling or walking that help reduce your carbon footprint can greatly benefit your physical and mental health.
There are many other small ways to boost your mental health while living sustainably, such as recycling materials, volunteering for an environmental group, and making ethical decisions about consumption.
If environmental threats aren't enough to make you want to work for change, then consider how those same threats certainly affect our physical and mental health.
Taking care of the environment is good for everyone!
Written by Remi Moeller and Mafalda Martins