Well-being posts

A list of well-being posts from the Econation Blog.

The cardinal virtues of sustainability

In The Republic Plato described the four key virtues of a good person: prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. It is not surprising that these virtues have a huge part to play in the practice of sustainability. Temperance Temperance means self-restraint, moderation and discretion. In terms of sustainability, Temperance is probably the most obvious of the virtues. The virtue of temperance [...]

The importance of self-care

Written by Shannon Dowdall, Student, AUT We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times. Given that it is mental health awareness month this October, now is [...]

Social consumption

Social consumption has declined because consumption is increasingly solitary. Put another way, people are spending more time consuming alone. This has consequences for mental well-being, social well-being and environmental well-being. With the advent of cheaper electronic goods like televisions, stereos, personal computers, tablets and smartphones people isolate themselves much more than in the past. Our ever-present new technologies lure us [...]

The benefits of walking

If you walk instead of driving you're doing the planet a favour by reducing carbon emissions. However, there are many other benefits of walking. A regular walk has been called a 'Constitutional' because it aids the well-being of your physical and mental constitution. Just 30 minutes walking a day can have the following benefits. Improves heart health Any regular exercise, [...]

Doing what you really want to do

"The minute you do what you really want to do, it's really a different kind of life" – Buckminster Fuller Is the work you are doing what you really want to do? If it isn't here are some very good reasons why it definitely should be. 1. You will enjoy life more When you are not happy with your work, [...]

The importance of relationships

Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. This fact has been revealed in study after study, including one of the longest ever studies of human well-being. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too,” said Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard [...]

Extrinsic vs intrinsic

There is a deep divide between what our economy provides and what makes people well. Our economy is focussed on providing extrinsic rewards when people are more genuinely motivated and rewarded by intrinsic satisfactions. If you go to university to learn and fulfil yourself, these are intrinsic benefits. If you go to university to get a degree, that is an [...]

Life is easy

I strongly encourage you to watch this TEDx talk. It's a little bit cheeky to have a blog post that is a Youtube video, but I could have banged on for ages like I often do and never have got across what Jon Jandai, a Thai farmer does in 15 minutes so plainly. It's a powerful message about well-being from a [...]

More good with less

'Do more with less' is a catch-cry in the sustainability movement but it is also a catch-cry for businesses who despoil the environment. The point is that doing more with less is fine if what you are doing is good – but what if it's bad? Modern western economies seem to be obsessed with efficiency when usually this is just being [...]

The best things in life

Money, where it comes from and what it can buy, is not everything. In our society, the economy gets way too much attention – in policy-making and political rhetoric, in the media, even in the education system. This is amplified by the unrelenting bombardment of advertising and promotional messages the average person faces every single day. The obsession with the economy is unhealthy, unsustainable [...]

The modest lemon

Throughout history lemons have been used by humans not just as a flavourful food ingredient but also for its health and other practical benefits. The following (incomplete) list of benefits will hopefully motivate everyone to plant a lemon tree now. Culinary Benefits Most people know the culinary uses of lemons. They are used in baking, desserts and refreshing drinks. Lemons [...]

Too much!

The following list of data* highlights the fact that people in modern economies, like America, have too much stuff. Not only is it more stuff than is needed for a life of well-being, it is weighing us down, it is a burden in the true sense of the word. 1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times). 2. [...]

Creative consumption

The 'consumption' of creative goods and activities is more sustainable than the consumption of purely material goods. A creative economy is where production and consumption involves the processing of ideas, symbols, and emotional experiences rather than the dissipation of energy and the break­down of matter. A study done by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed that there was a negative relationship between energy [...]

The LAW of good health

LAW stands for Light Air Water. These three things are essential for life. They are probably the most crucial 'nutrients' and yet too many people take them for granted and don’t factor them into their health plans. Light People need adequate exposure to daylight to provide optimum health. Spending time in the sunshine lifts peoples’ moods and the opposite tends to depress people. SAD (seasonal affect [...]

The Humble Onion

There is nothing more humble than an onion. They are cheap, plentiful and easy to grow yourself. Onions are a staple ingredient in the cuisine of many cultures worldwide. These savoury root bulbs are one of the most versatile vegetables and can be consumed raw or cooked, imparting a delicious flavour to many different styles of meals. Discoveries over the [...]

Contraception, Human Nature, and Sustainability

The evolutionist Richard Dawkins has explained that humans’ are innately selfish, greedy and interested in short-term gains over long-term benefits. He points out that because of its short-term, opportunistic characteristic Darwinism is not friendly to the values of sustainability. As Dawkins points out humans, like all animals, innately take advantage of present opportunities without thought for future repercussions. Whilst humans [...]

Nature Deficit Disorder

Most people spend about 95 percent of their time inside: in houses, cars, shops, cafes and offices. We are becoming an indoor species increasingly shut off from sky, land, waterways, plants and animals. Nature is becoming more and more abstract to us. We are disconnected from it and yet we are still very much part of it because everything we [...]

Eating wisely

It was the author of The Omnivores Dilemma, Michael Pollan, who summed up the wisest diet with the epigram: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. He expanded on this pithy advice in an article for Time Magazine called “Six Rules for Eating Wisely”. Having done research for his book Pollan found that the way food is processed and produced [...]

Christmas on the run

For many people Christmas is the most stressful time of the year. It shouldn't be. Yes, Christmas is a traditional time of giving, there's nothing wrong with that at all. But what are we giving? Ourselves a heart attack, it seems. Christmas advertising seems to start earlier each year. This may not be the case but there were definitely Christmas [...]

Soft landing or brutal crash?

Energy will never be as cheap as it is now. The question is do we act now and transition to a low-energy society while energy is still cheap, or do we paint ourselves into a corner? Global trade will only work until cheap fossil fuels run out. This is definitely going to happen (read more about Peak Oil) although no-one knows [...]