Do You Suffer From Green Stress?

"I take 10 minute showers! I'm killing the planet!"

For the past few months I’ve been talking your ear off about why the earth is in trouble and how you can go green to save our environment.  And while it’s great to do whatever you can to protect the planet, there is such a thing as caring a little too much. According to the New York Times, there has been an increasing amount of people that report anxiety and stress because they feel like they are never as green as they would like to be.  And, believe it or not, such anxious thoughts about the environment can have negative impacts on your emotional state, your health, and your relationships.

How do you know if you’re just a concerned citizen or full-blown green stress case?  Read on for the answer and for ways to manage if you’re glowing green just a little too brightly.

Are you green stressed? There’s a huge difference between being concerned and being down right obsessed.  Before you go any further, ask yourself a few questions:  Are you happy with your efforts to help the environment?  Do you feel like you’re doing enough to go green?  Are you willing to give up your green efforts to preserve some of your favorite activities?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, then congrats!  You are helping in a way that is both healthy for the environment and healthy for your well-being.

Didn’t pass the test? Then you may have some anxiety issues related to going green. With all of the information out there, it’s hard to feel like you’re ever doing enough to counteract the rest of the world’s indifference.  Before you start ripping your hair out, realize that this is more of a psychological issue than an environmental issue.  An obsession with going green is just the same as an obsession with losing weight or making money – you never feel like you’re doing enough.

So how do you fix it? Unless your stress is very severe, a quick reality check is just the ticket to snap you out of it.  First of all, think about all of the things you already do to help the environment.  Do you recycle?  Turn off the lights and water when you’re not using it?  Bike or walk to work or school?  Believe it or not, most people don’t do any of these; you’re way ahead of the game!  On a similar note, don’t compare your efforts to those of others!  Not all environmentally friendly methods are compatible with everyone’s lifestyle.  Pick your favorites and make a pledge to stick to those.  As time goes on, slowly try to incorporate other changes into your routine if it works.  Which brings me to my last point…

What is important to you? We already know that the environment is high on your priority list, but think about the other things you enjoy doing.  Personally, I love to go out, drink a few beers, and hang out with my friends.  I’m not going to let the fact that I’m wasting a few aluminum beer cans ruin my night.  Going green is all about protecting your passion, so be sure that you protect all your other ones as well!

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