Our Environmental Health

 

Riya Garg

Maintaining our mental health is a matter of utmost importance and is definitely not easy, considering the multitude of factors that influence it. The environment, whether it be our room or our planet, is one of these many points. Pollution not only destroys our physical well-being but also the endorphin levels that affect our feelings. Speaking of pollution, the first thing that comes to our mind when we hear the word “environment” is an image of (rapidly dying, thanks, carbon emissions!) trees. However the environment is never limited to just the material factors like where we live but also the people we surround ourselves with.

 

We often overlook what an impact our surroundings have on us. Whether it is the gloomy weather that makes you feel down or the constant construction noises from upstairs, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g has a role in determining our mood. Studies show that spending time around greenery can uplift our mood drastically! Even increasing the amount of light in one’s room has been shown to mitigate stress and alleviate anxiety.

 

Multiple studies talk about how spending time outdoors actually has an enormous positive impact on our attitude towards life. A reduction in our blood pressure and heart rate leads to sensations of tranquillity. Furthermore, climate change also impacts our mood, invoking feelings of helplessness. But you can always do your part by recycling, reducing your plastic consumption and utilizing renewable sources of energy whenever possible. It's natural to feel like you can't make a difference because you are just one person but even the great Pacific Ocean is made of tiny droplets of water. Knowing that you’ve done your bit can definitely give you a sense of comfort.

 

A lesser-talked about aspect of the environment are the personalities around us. This has a huge hand in defining our mood for the day, whether we like it or not. Seeing your best friend happy definitely makes you beam from ear to ear but seeing a limping stray dog has the exact opposite effect (I bet just thinking of that made you pout). While it is incredibly hard, it’s crucial that you remember that not everything in your environment can be controlled and it is necessary to embrace all emotions. 

 

So now, you might be wondering: okay but what do we do? All feelings, positive and negative, are valid. All your emotions are important so don’t be afraid to accept them and most importantly, don’t be afraid to feel. Take time off and be kind to yourself. Every coin has 2 sides so not every day can be a happy day. Embrace all your emotions and know that some things are beyond your control. That being said, you can definitely try and alter the room you spend most time in, such that it resembles your happy place. As for some cliche-sounding things that actually work, surround yourself with positive people, go for walks and get some fresh air, have a decluttered, well-lit room and, lastly, learn to appreciate nature and the tiny things. As basic as this sounds, it’s true: focus on the good and the good gets better.