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Does Going Green Make You Happier?

You don’t litter. You recycle paper and plastics. You use reusable grocery bags and keep a compost bin in your backyard.

Every environmentally friendly action helps the planet, but does it help you?

When it comes to your health, the answer is yes. Going green can make you happier and healthier.

Here is how these eco-friendly actions help the earth and you:

Walking or biking instead of driving

How that helps the earth

Reduces fuel use and air pollutants

What it does for your health

  • A short walk or bike ride gets you moving, which is vital to your health. Just ten minutes of physical activity has been shown to improve heart health, especially for people who don’t move a lot most days.
  • Natural light boosts your mood. Studies have shown a connection between time in sunlight and increased levels of serotonin, a brain chemical associated with feelings of contentment and calmness.

Recycling, reusing, and reducing waste

How that helps the earth

  • Saves energy
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduces ground water contamination
  • Reduces the amount of waste going into landfills or being sent to incinerators

What it does for your health

  • Coming up with ways to repurpose something rather than throw it away encourages creativity.
  • Avoiding excess packaging may lead you to eat healthier because you stay away from processed, pre-packaged foods. Your cooking skills may improve, too.
  • Regularly recycling your paper, cardboard, plastic and glass is a way of improving your community, and doing good for others gives you a sense of purpose that makes you happier.

Buying locally grown foods

How that helps the earth

Cuts travel time for transport, reducing fuel use and air pollutants

What it does for your health

  • Local produce most likely will not be sprayed with chemical preservatives, and smaller farms are more likely to use environmentally friendly practices than their mega-farm counterparts.
  • Fresh food tastes better.

Using energy-efficient and low-water appliances and devices

How that helps the earth

Conserves water and energy

What it does for your health

Whether you go all-out in an effort to produce zero waste or take small steps, going green makes a difference to you, your community and to the planet.

Nancy Henderson

Nancy Henderson, a writer and editor originally from New York, moved to Nashville more than 25 years ago and considers herself more Tennessean than Yankee these days. She has written about health care and wellness for a variety of publications.

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Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.

WellTuned provides inspiration and practical advice for healthy living.
WellTuned does not offer medical advice. Any personal health questions should be addressed to your doctor.

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