How Living a Low Waste Lifestyle Can Help With Anxiety
July 9, 2021
According to research, around 46% of the general population experience symptoms of anxiety. This prevalence has only been exacerbated by the rollercoaster of events that have happened over the last few years.
Living with anxiety can be an incredibly challenging ordeal—it interferes with work and social life, and it can even cause strain on your relationships.
Dealing with and managing anxiety can come in various forms, and strange as though it may seem, living a low-waste lifestyle may actually be one way to manage yours.
You can start learning about low-waste living through learning platforms like Puratium, where you will find valuable discussions on a more natural way of life.
The Future as a Source of Anxiety
Before we tackle how living a low waste life can help with your feelings of anxiety, let’s talk about how waste and the overall state of the environment can actually be one of our top sources of anxiety.
Too often, we feel like we are witnessing the world fall apart before our very eyes—and with it, our hopes for the future. Rising CO2 levels, endless mountains of waste, and species going extinct at alarming rates are just some of the many issues that plague us today.
But while eco-anxiety has its grip on most of us, there is still so much hope for the future! Through systematic and policy-level change, we still have a shot at a safe and healthy planet for generations to come.
But while we’re at it, it’s also good to exercise and practice our values by consuming less and trying to lessen the waste we generate throughout our day-to-day life.
All that said, let’s jump into the different ways you can reduce anxiety by living a low-waste life.
Most of us struggle with clutter. Whether it’s physical, digital, or mental clutter, we’re all guilty of the little things we often leave unattended.
Living a low-waste life means reducing the amount of waste we generate, and a vast majority of the time, this involves clearing up the clutter that’s currently in your life. Not only does reducing clutter help create more physical space, it also helps you open up mentally.
We don’t notice it, but the little things we keep putting off to the back of our minds actually take up a lot of our energy and mental space—energy that we could be spending on more intentional experiences.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to start cleaning up clutter, but the typical approach is to start with what’s in your home. Clean out your junk drawer, organize your pantry, run through your cupboards—anything that will help clear your head and home.
This entire process is also very therapeutic and forces you to reconsider what’s really important in your life; all good practice for living a zero/low-waste lifestyle.
Once you’ve got your physical space cleared out, you can have a go at your digital space. If you’re guilty of having thousands of unread emails, it’s time to clear them up. Coincidentally, this storage-saving technique is actually good for the environment as well!
Hopefully, in clearing up physical and mental clutter, you are able to create a space around you that cultivates joy and peace. And while this will not erase all your anxieties, it certainly does help.
Low Waste Lifestyle and Intentional Living
For many of us, anxiety stems from feeling like we aren’t in control of our lives. It is our lack of control over circumstances, people, and situations that often spark feelings of fear and anxiety.
Living a low-waste lifestyle is rooted in intentional living. If you’re going low waste, it is essential to reconsider what is important to you and discard the rest. Living more intentionally helps you take back control, or at least learn to navigate situations where you may feel out of control.
When we live more intentionally, we are protective of our physical and emotional space. We are careful of what feelings we cultivate and what kind of experiences we welcome into our lives.
Each one of us has a different definition of things and experiences we want in our lives, but the bottom line is that we get to choose. We get to decide what to keep and what to discard, and that in itself is an excellent way to manage the anxiety that comes from uncertainty and doubt.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of low/no-buying periods, it’s pretty self-explanatory. For a certain period of time, you are not going to buy anything unnecessary. For some people, it can be makeup and clothes; for some, it can be books and art materials, and the list goes on.
People do this for a variety of reasons. Some want to curb their shopping, while some simply want to become less attached to unnecessary possessions. In any case, living a low-waste lifestyle is pretty much an extended version of a low-buy. The less you buy, the less waste you generate—it’s that simple.
This ties in with anxiety because, although we may not realize it, an accumulation of objects we have no idea what to do with can actually cause a lot of anxiety and stress (see above discussion on clutter).
If we practice essentialism in our purchases, we are able to control our impulses and curb excessive shopping.
Buying less also helps us with our finances, which for most of us, is also another cause of stress and anxiety.
Especially considering the ever-increasing cost of living, skyrocketing rent, and alarming levels of inflation, it is now more important than ever to be prudent about where we choose to place our funds.
Plus, buying less also has the added benefit of reducing your decision fatigue! You no longer have to think about whether it’s prudent to buy that designer bag or new line of makeup—because the answer is most likely no.
Low-waste Living and Focus
One of the hallmark characteristics of living in the 21st century is our lack of focus. Most of us are perpetually preoccupied with one thought or another, always needing the background noise of something else to keep us going throughout the day. Always craving distraction at every single turn.
Every distraction, every cut in our attention span can actually fuel our anxiety—especially with social media. It isn’t normal to scroll past climate emergencies, gender reveal parties, news on war zones, and cute kitty videos, all in the span of a minute.
Our brains are not meant to withstand the level of distraction and detachment humanity is experiencing as a whole today. Our lack of focus exacerbates our anxiety and, in turn, has a negative influence on our daily lives.
With low waste living, we are able to channel our focus on the things we find truly important.
Contrary to popular belief, low-waste living isn’t simply about physical waste; it can also be about being mindful of how and where you spend your energy and time. And by being wise about where we channel our focus, we can help curb our anxieties and more effectively cultivate value every single day.
Anxiety is a terrible crippling thing. It can interfere with our daily experiences https://puratium.com/and make it more difficult to lead a healthy, fulfilling life.
Going low waste isn’t a sure way to reduce your anxiety, and if you put too much pressure on yourself, even living low waste itself can be the reason for your worries.
But for the vast majority of instances, a low-waste life grounded on what’s essential is an excellent way to lessen anxiety and become more present in the now.