Sustainability is officially a “buzz word,” but a very important one. The term sustainability as it is presently used originated with the “go-green” movement, which encouraged people to alter their lifestyles in order to help the planet’s health. Sustainability was used largely to describe the harvesting of energy sources of all varieties in a way that would renew the energy source at the same rate it depleted it. The use of this term broadened exponentially, however, and came to refer to any practice in life that gives resources back in equal measures as it takes them. In that sense, we can examine the fundamentals of life through the lens of sustainability to discover what the most essential things to human existence are.
- Spirituality. Many people confuse spirituality and religion. The term spirituality essentially refers to where we draw the meaning of our lives from. This may be from a higher power, from a range of energies or from humanity itself, but it is considered by mental health experts to be one of the essentials for wholeness within a person.
- Relationships. As social beings, relationships are an obvious necessity. Some people need an abundance of relationships while others only need a few, but companionship in some form or another is considered a necessary part of good mental health.
- Health. Medical and mental health are key components of a satisfying existence. They are obvious methods of achieving a high quality of life. Good mental health dictates your moods and decision making, and good medical health gives a person access to a great deal more of what life has to offer. Teaching yourself how to maintain healthy sobriety and balance is very important to your well-being.
- Purpose. Purpose can be thought of as a meaningful calling or simply as the thing that keeps a person occupied. Either way, having the drive to accomplish necessary tasks is a crucial part of being a balanced human being.
These four elements have been qualified by mental and behavioral health experts to be the most important elements of human existence. One could say that the most sustainable way of living is by incorporating these things in equal parts into your life. They may seem ambiguous in list form, but when each area is broken down and identified with, these four elements make for the most sustainable model of an individual’s life.