There are so many factors that can profoundly affect our health, with or without our knowledge. The food we eat, our relationships, and physical conditions are some prominent factors. Still, many other elements can influence our well-being. Of course, health isn’t just limited to being physically well but includes mental wellness too. If we aren’t psychologically healthy, our physical health can deteriorate immensely.
However, one factor that goes largely ignored when it comes to mental and physical health is the environmental influence. Your surroundings can have a massive effect on you, for better or for worse. These factors can include both natural and human-made forces, and as times change, they continue to evolve. Below, we’ll discuss the environmental factors that affect our health and how we can cope.
Air pollution is an environmental factor that can immensely affect your mental and physical well-being and is a community health concern. Exposure to toxic air conditions can give rise to various health concerns with time and significantly lower life expectancy. Children and the elderly can be affected most profoundly. Even short-term exposure can cause lung diseases, heart diseases, and various other infections.
The causes of air pollution are many, but the solution is one: sustainability. Working towards a more sustainable future can significantly reduce air pollution levels and pave the way for a cleaner, healthier future. If you’re willing to learn more about sustainability, getting a professional degree can help you immensely. This degree can teach you to assess air pollution through a socio-political lens and develop protocols accordingly. An online sustainability degree lets you study sustainability from a passionate, expert faculty. You can learn urban planning, environmental law, and sustainable agriculture to help create a cleaner environment for everyone.
The sensory effects of the environment are profound. While these may not affect your physical health, they can impact your mental health immensely. Living in a consistently loud climate can lead to a high amount of mental stress. Noise pollution increases your cortisol levels and causes depression, anxiety and can even lead to heart disease. Similarly, living in a cluttered, dimly lit space can induce stress and stay in too hot or cold environments.
If you live in a noisy area, getting noise-blocking headphones can help you get some peace. Additionally, you can make your home a more aesthetic and relaxing place by cutting back on clutter, having a well-lit space, and regulating the temperature. Opting for warmer color palettes instead of darker ones can also make the area seem more welcoming rather than bleak.
As the world around us grows increasingly more polluted, we may encounter more chemical hazards than ever. You may encounter harmful substances in your workplace, in food, or at home. While many substances are only toxic if ingested, simply being around others can cause lasting damage to your health. Asbestos is one such substance that can cause profound damage to your health with even short-term exposure. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in the lining of your lungs and cause rare and often fatal diseases. Similarly, acid rain can profoundly affect our health and won’t just damage us directly but can contaminate our food supply.
You can avoid workplace exposure to any chemicals by making inquiries with your company. Furthermore, while we cannot prevent exposure to acid rain, we can work towards building a cleaner environment. Limiting the usage of cars, using sustainable energy sources, and educating people to do the same can help create a cleaner future.
The range of interpersonal conflicts can be immense. Being in an environment where you feel unsafe and unprotected can be immensely damaging to your mental health. Stress can lead you to develop various physical ailments. Additionally, being in an environment reminiscent of a traumatic incident can promote negativity too.
While you may not be able to change your environment entirely, you can surround yourself with people who love and support you. Having someone to lean on can promote feelings of calm and boost your positive associations with the environment. If you live in a hostile neighborhood, protecting yourself by installing security cameras, locks or getting a guard dog can help immensely and reduce your stress. Social support, be it through a pet, a friend, or a parent, can help you immensely, no matter what conflict you face.
These are just a few of the environmental factors that profoundly affect us in our day-to-day lives. These factors can be biophysical influences, interpersonal relations, sensory effects, or more. While it may seem like there’s no way to deal with these issues, it can be easy to find a solution. Even small changes can go a long way in boosting our mental and physical well-being and helping us feel safer and happier in our environment.