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Don’t Buy It, Be Happy – But What’s Nature Got to Do with It?

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

SunKiss Life - December Edition

Welcome to the SunKiss Life Blog, a monthly round-up celebrating inspiring stories from our online lifestyle magazine, SunKiss Life.

Welcome to December, a time for celebration, joy and giving! With Christmas just around the corner we’ve hand-picked some great ideas that will help make for a more sustainable holiday season, including some guidelines for how to master the art of second-hand gift-giving, leaving you with that warm fuzzy feeling that is the true spirit of Christmas. May this month’s round up of stories bring you tidings of comfort and joy. Happy Holidays!

Photo by Wix

Don’t Buy It, Be Happy

From our perspective we live in a consumer-driven society and that’s essentially how the economy works. Excluding Bhutan, that has chosen to measure progress by tracking happiness, our current system is hyper focused on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures how much money a country makes rather than the well-being of people and the planet.

Except, when we are encouraged to consume to keep the wheels of the economy spinning, the things we buy can end up being a burden. This happens when instead of spending precious time on things that truly make us happy, we end up spending time on taking care of our possessions. Studies have shown that buying lots of “things” diminishes our wellbeing, and chances are that if you relieve yourself of the burden of ownership, you are likely to feel a lot better and freer. So, contrary to the common myth that consumerism equals happiness:

“Happy people buy less things and buying less things makes you happier.”

Yep, you read that right - buying less "stuff" will not likely turn you into a Scrooge; instead, it’s a definite win-win: The best thing you can do for you and the planet is to simply consume less. So, what do we do this time of year when gift-giving is at an all-time high? In SunKiss Life this holiday season we explore how eco-friendly gift-giving will make you happier and channel your happiness into transformative change for the planet.

For instance, it can be easy to forget that gifts don’t always need to take on the form of a tangible object. Instead, consider what the person you’re buying a gift for might want to learn or explore and help them gain that experience. For those especially concerned with the environment and social issues, try gifting support to organisations and causes that are important to them by donating in their name. After all it really is the thought that counts and our favourite gift here at SunKiss is a hug - one size that fits all, and can easily and generously be returned.

What’s Nature Got to Do with It?

So, what’s the connection between Nature and Happiness? As described in the November edition of SunKiss Life Magazine, our affinity for nature runs deep and the link between nature and happiness is undeniable. An expanding body of scientific evidence suggests that fading nature experiences contribute to a diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, obesity, and higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses. Research also suggests that nature-deficit weakens ecological literacy and stewardship of the natural world.

In the words of Rachel Carson, we might even ask ourselves why we’re not spending more time in nature when the sounds, smells and sights associated with natural surroundings are our evolutionary “happy place”?

“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?”

Rachel Carson - Silent Spring

Photo by Brigitta Schneiter, Unsplash

A study led by the University of Exeter suggests that 120 minutes per week in nature is the necessary threshold to see measurable improvement in physical health and psychological wellbeing. While by no means a replacement for any necessary medication, emotional support animals have also been proven to help people cope with the symptoms of various mental diagnoses. In addition to improving, one’s mood, increased exposure to nature has the added benefits of bolstering concentration and memory.

There are few individuals who know more about the benefits of the natural world than Sir David Attenborough who once said:

"The natural world is the greatest source of excitement. The greatest source of visual beauty. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living."

So how do we best stock up on “vitamin N”? The good news is that pretty much any outdoor activity is sure to boost your mood and improve your overall well-being over time! Just beware that the more time you spend looking at your screens, the more it will counteract the positive impacts that you gained from walking in nature.

Photo by Tim Gouw, Unsplash

So, awaken the innermost feelings of peace and happiness by forgetting on-line shopping and getting into nature. Go swimming even, who cares if it’s raining or snowing as you’ll get wet anyway. At this time of the year, when the sun shines, seize the chance to enjoy it, and when it isn’t, tune into SunKiss to Brighten up your day :-)

If you have a story to feature in the SunKiss Life Magazine, get in touch - we love to hear from you! 🌻 #SunKissLife


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