The beach makes me happy. Sunshine makes me happy. Planning a trip makes me happy. Watching my girls row their “boats” (laundry baskets) down the hallway without pulling each other’s hair or screaming at one another makes me happy. But can green living make me happy? That’s the question that was posed by Tetra Pak.
We try to live green. We grow our own vegetables, save energy by keeping the heat set at chilly 64 degrees in winter, and use a cargo bike to transport our two little kids around town.
Yet I still use disposable diapers, take long showers, and (gulp) bring my groceries home in plastic bags.
We can all do better.
Here’s how things shook down when I took on a series of green living challenges to see how green living affected my happiness.
Can Green Living Make You Happier?
Challenge 1: Swap your paper coffee cup for a mug.
This one was easy. I don’t drink coffee, so I’m off the hook. Ha! Of course that’s not the point. The problem is that I’m far too comfortable in the world of disposable paper products. Since I don’t need a tea mug, I’ve started carrying my iced tea in washable glass bottles. If I keep my fridge stocked with tea bottles, I’m not as tempted to run through the drive through for a $1 tea in an extra-large styrofoam cup. More savings and less waste–sounds good to me!
Challenge 2. Take shorter showers
But I like my long showers, thank you very much. They’re about the only time I get to myself each day! But, okay, fine. I tried shorter showers for the sake of this challenge, and it wasn’t that bad. I take my showers at night (I’m weird), so a shorter shower meant I got to bed sooner. And bed makes me happy.
Challenge 3. When grocery shopping, choose food and beverage products with renewable packaging, like cartons.
Tetra Pak sent me a few samples of carton products to try. When I opened the box, I audibly gasped. I’ve done enough research to know that I don’t love the idea of the BPA in my canned goods. But canned goods are so convenient. But convenient products in “packs that grow back” (i.e. they’re made from renewable products)? Sold.
Challenge 4. Bike or walk whenever possible.
This one’s my favorite! The girls and I have put 1000+ miles on our cargo bike since we got it last June. Riding that bike absolutely, positively makes me happier. And as if using a bike for transportation isn’t enough to make me happy, how about the fact that our youngest kiddo (3 1/2) just learned to ride a big girl bike without training wheels? (Balance bikes are awesome. All the credit for her early success goes to the fact that she mastered a balance bike first.The very first day she learned to ride, she rode a full mile to the grocery store with her big sister!) I see lots of happy family rides coming our way this summer!
You can read more about the easiest way to learn to ride a bike in this post.
Challenge 5. Take the Happiness Quiz
Did you know that most people (70 percent) feel happier when they make renewable lifestyle choices?
Find out more about how to make happier choices with the “Habits of Happiness Quiz.” This quiz gave me some new ideas and provided facts to explain why I love healthy habits like biking: “Soaking in Vitamin D + increasing your daily dose of endorphins = happy vibes. Unlike automobiles, which require non-renewable fossil fuels, cyclists are powered by pedal power. You’re using your feet instead of finite fossil fuels. Kudos!”
What green living choices make YOU happy?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.