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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Flourishing Things: Public Meditation Spaces

Taking time to meditate is a great way to recharge and centre yourself throughout the day. Some of the many benefits associated with meditation include reduced stress, improved focus, re-energization, improved sleep, and increased attention span. You don’t need to be at home or have a large block of time in order to meditate. Meditation can be done on the go whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Public meditation spaces offer individuals a quiet and peaceful place to reflect without having to relocate to a completely private location.

One solution to meditating in public spaces is making use of mindfulness or meditation pods. These are structures which are designed to allow individuals to escape from the business of everyday life. The creators of Headspace, a popular meditation app, worked with architects at Oyler Wu Collaborative to create a meditation pod which combines natural materials such as wood and screens that allow users to access Headspace guided meditations....

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Flourishing Things: Gardening

Gardening is good for the soul! Getting outside in the fresh air and physically connecting with nature is a great way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. The act of gardening provides individuals with a form of physical activity that is not only enjoyable but helps to burn calories and reduce blood pressure. The mental benefits of gardening include reduced stress, increased happiness, and overall mood enhancement. Research has shown that soil contains natural antidepressant microbes! If these reasons alone aren’t enough to get you digging in your garden this summer, consider the visual and aesthetic appeal you will be adding to your yard!

Caring for plants is a great way to immerse yourself in the outdoors and better understand and appreciate what nature has to offer. Interacting with the soil and greenery lets you connect with nature by engaging your five senses. You’re able to see your plants transform from sprouts to seedlings, develop buds, flower, and...

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Flourishing Things: Water Bottle Refilling Stations

It is well understood that single use plastic water bottles have a negative effect on the environment. Although the packaging indicates that the bottles can be recycled, in reality only a small percentage of plastic bottles contain recycled material. It is cheaper for manufacturers to produce new plastic instead. The majority of recycled plastic is used in products other than water bottles such as carpets and textiles. This is an issue because once plastic is used in these types of products it generally can’t be recycled again. What happens to the plastic water bottles that aren’t recycled? They end up in landfills and oceans where they take hundreds of years to break down into microplastics that have the ability to pollute the environment and harm wildlife.

Due to the harms caused by single use plastic bottles, people are opting for reusable water bottles instead. Reusable water bottles come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from durable plastic, glass, and...

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Flourishing Things: Farmer's Markets

Grocery stores aren’t the only place to purchase your fruits and vegetables during the warmer months. Instead of browsing the produce aisle at your regular grocery store, get outside and explore what your local farmers markets have to offer! While some farmer’s markets are open year-round, the number of vendors and products being sold tend to increase during the spring, summer, and autumn months when crops are harvested and ready for consumption.

Purchasing produce from famer’s markets means that you are getting fresh, local produce straight from the source. When you buy fruits and vegetables from the grocery store, there is a good chance that the product has been shipped from a different region or country. Shipping produce results in a considerable carbon footprint, possible food waste if the produce spoils during transit, and poor taste and quality if the produce has been harvested before it is ripe. These transportation issues apply to meat products as well....

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Flourishing Things: Gratitude Practice

While our lives aren’t always perfect, it is important to acknowledge the things we are grateful for whether they are big or small. Simply taking time to notice and reflect on the things in your life has the ability to change your life for the better. In expressing gratitude, you will be able to change your perspective by focusing on the things that bring you happiness, peace and comfort. Practicing gratitude will allow you to experience more positive emotions and celebrate life more effectively!

One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to write down the things you are grateful for. Gratitude journals are a great place to reflect on moments, activities, people, and things for which you are grateful. One of the best things about gratitude journals is that there are no rules when it comes to expressing your gratitude! Entries can be as long or as short as you would like and can be about anything, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. In fact, being as specific...

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Flourishing Things: Ikigai

It is no secret that people feel happier and more fulfilled when they feel that they have a purpose in life. The Japanese word Ikigai, which roughly translates to “reason for being,” refers to having a direction or purpose in life through balancing passion and practicality. Ikigai can be found at the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Being able to balance your career and your interests, or in other words, find your Ikigai, will result in a life full of happiness and fulfillment.

Although it can be financially beneficial, pursuing a career solely because it will bring you wealth leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction and meaninglessness. This way of living becomes unsustainable as it is difficult to find the drive to continue with your work if you are not emotionally and spiritually invested in it. On the other hand, if you are only focusing on things that you enjoy doing and are passionate about,...

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Flourishing Things: Learning by Walking

The dérive is a psychogeographical concept coined by Guy Debord in 1956 in his work "Theory of the Dérive.” The dérive refers to an unplanned journey through a landscape (often urban) where participants "let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there." This concept was critical in the development of psychogeography which centres around playfulness and the exploration of urban landscapes. Dérive encourages participants to stray off the beaten path (both literally and metaphorically) and let their surroundings guide their movements. This type of movement and exploration facilitates experiential learning.

The best way to learn about a landscape is by immersing yourself in it. Letting yourself wander through an area gives you a tactical and rhythmic experience that cannot be replicated by looking at a map, viewing images, or reading about the area. Physically interacting with a landscape allows you to feel...

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Flourishing Things: Mindfulness

Taking time out of your day to practice mindfulness can seem impossible when you have a busy schedule and a seemingly endless to-do list. Luckily, practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming and can easily fit into your everyday routine. Mindfulness is the act of purposely focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. This means that instead of dwelling on negative feelings or thoughts that may run through your head while practicing mindfulness, simply take note of them and refocus on the present moment. Although humans are born with the ability to be mindful, it can be easy to rush through life without stopping to enjoy and reflect on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to train yourself to naturally incorporate awareness into your everyday routine.  

    Mindfulness includes processing and interpreting what you are experiencing, whether it be emotional, mental, or sensory. This allows you to...

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Flourishing Things: Ultimate Frisbee

Team sports introduce physical activity into your life in an enjoyable and consistent way, while increasing your social circle and building a sense of community. Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact team sport that is played with a flying disk (also known as a frisbee). It was created in 1968 by students at Columbia High School in Jersey, in the U.S. Today it is an officially recognized sport that is played by thousands all over the world. Ultimate Frisbee is played by recreational, club, national and professional teams at differing age levels. Why do I single out Ultimate frisbee as a flourishing thing? Because my husband and I have been playing this sport together for over 25 years now, and we love the principles of the sport, that of sportsmanship and fair play. We always play hard and give our best, but it is most important to have fun! Win or lose, we want to enjoy the game. That is one of the foundations of the sport.

    Although Ultimate Frisbee is an intense...

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Flourishing Things: Carshare

Car sharing companies have increased in popularity in the past few years as people are looking for alternative methods of transportation that don’t break the bank. Public transportation may not always be the best way to get around, as it may be unsuited to carrying heavy items or travel to out of the way destinations. On the other hand, buying and owning a car has drawbacks for the environment and is very costly with insurance, maintenance and gas. Car sharing lets you have the best of both worlds. Car sharing is a form of car rental which is cheaper and more convenient than traditional methods, and carshare members have dramatically lower fossil fuel emissions as they only drive when necessary. If you need a car for a couple of hours to pick up a relative from the airport, transport materials, or for infrequent trips, car sharing is a great option!

    How does it work? Many car sharing organizations operate in similar ways. Users are able to purchase a monthly...

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