Building a Habit of Mindful Consumption and Minimal Waste


  Building a Habit of Mindful Consumption and Minimal Waste

I often say, “the only thing that should be going to landfills is the trash from its dumpsters.” We have an incredible opportunity to create an economy where we can actually say that, because recycling (and composting) can solve the problems of both diminishing natural resources and our mounting garbage problem.

Think about it – if we take materials out of landfills and put them back into manufacturing processes, then our water and soil will be cleaner; we won’t need to extract raw resources from nature at such a high rate; fewer trees will be cut down to make paper; the air around us will become fresher; and our yard waste can help create food for local livestock.

That’s not to say we’re going to have an economic utopia. Far from it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring. We have an opportunity to create a more sustainable economy that is still completely economically viable.

There are many ways we can get started on this path of mindful consumption and minimal waste, but one thing stands out above all else: start your free time with a green-screen activity or some light reading for ten minutes before you go to bed. This book will help you do just that.

The human mind and body need to be at rest in order to recharge and refocus. Stress is one of the biggest barriers to this, so thinking about what is stressing us out causes us undue stress, which makes us more stressed out. We could say that it’s a vicious cycle, but I would prefer to say that it’s a downward spiral – one that can be easily reversed with a little bit of reflection on how we are approaching our lives each day.

With ten minutes of quiet time before you go to bed, you can turn your experience from a downward spiral into an upward spiral. Your body and mind will thank you with a better night’s rest, and you’ll be more able to face the stressors of the next day.

This ten-minute time period is called Power Down, and it can be just as important to our health as Powering Up. If you start your day with Powering Up exercises to get your mind and body ready for the challenges you plan to tackle that day, then you should finish your (work)day with a short Power Down session so that your mind can be prepared for anything during its downtime.

Before I dive into what activities are best for a Power Down session, let me describe how I approach this quiet time every night before I go to bed. I’ve found that the most powerful factors in my Power Down routine are:

Going to bed without the glowing screen of a smartphone or computer – I have read, interacted with, and sent countless stimuli to my brain during my day beyond what many people consider to be any kind of “rest.”

Being naked with nothing but the sounds of nature and the sensation of being completely present in this moment – When you are fully clothed and laying down on a bed, you are not as able to appreciate how much nature is around you. When you’re fully clothed in an environment made-up by humans, it becomes more like a prison than a home. When you’re naked in nature with nothing but the sounds of nature and the sensation of being completely present in this moment, you can easily remember what it’s like to be a part of this world. You are able to feel how simple life is and how much more effort it takes for us to complicate things.

Contemplating mortality with gratitude and not fear – By reflecting on death we remind ourselves that we are alive, and by being thankful for all the things in our lives we are able to appreciate where we came from. We reflect on how blessed we are to have everything that we have and then consider that there may not always be such things available for us. It is this reflection that brings us back to the present moment, where we can see and appreciate all the miracles that are around us. It’s amazing how much we can miss when we aren’t really paying attention.

If you are looking at this from an economic standpoint, then it may seem like I am spending too much time on something that has no tangible value. But if you consider the amount of work that I get done during each day, it would be difficult to argue that this process doesn’t add considerable value to my life. In fact, I argue that it adds considerable value to everyone’s life.

The truth is that we spend very little time reflecting on our lives. We tend to live in the moment and dedicate our time and energy to the daily tasks that need to be completed. This is a good thing, but it comes at a cost: we lose sight of how much we have and how much we may lose if we don’t work towards slowing down just for a few moments each day.

This is important for any kind of progress, but it’s especially important when it comes to minimizing waste and improving resource conservation efforts. We already have to do a lot of things with the utmost precision, so we can’t afford to take any additional risks that may cause us to make unnecessary mistakes.

It’s easy to get caught up in the activities that we find fulfilling and rewarding, but we must also make sure that those activities aren’t causing us detrimental harm. One of the best places to check for this kind of negative impact is in our waste streams. If an activity causes us more trash than it would if we replaced it with something better, then the activity is causing harm.

In order to get rid of this harm in our lives, we need to be mindful about how we are living and acting each day. And that is where the Power Down routine comes in. In a few moments, I’ll show you how you can build this routine into your day and keep yourself in balance so that you can be more productive, efficient, and happier with your life.

But before we get to those tips for building a routine around Power Down time, let me show you one example of what it looks like on a daily basis when I use this process.

Example: Morning Wake Up Routine

In the morning, I look for brief moments to Power Down during my day as often as possible.

Conclusion: If I don’t take time to Power Down, then I feel stressed out at the end of the day.

I found this process through trial and error and through seeing how people who live in places that have a lot of nature take advantage of it for themselves. It’s a very simple process, but it requires some effort to build into your daily routine. So let me share some ways that you can use Power Down in your daily routine before you go to bed at night.

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