Air Pollution Linked To Mental Health: More Serious Than You Think!

Are you aware that air pollution is not just detrimental to your physical health but to your mental health as well? Some study conducted shows that being exposed to high levels of air pollution can cause you to also suffer from psychological distress.

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It’s Not Just Your Lungs

The dirty air you inhale can impair your breathing.  Later, it may cause you to develop respiratory illnesses that can lead to cardiovascular diseases.  Aside from the generally known conditions, experts are also trying to prove the association between obesity, diabetes, and dementia and the toxic air we breathe.

Asthma Takes A Toll In Physical And Mental Well-Being

Ask a person with asthma about the quality of life he has.  I don’t think anyone will tell you it’s okay.  Of course, it’s not.  Having asthma myself, I can tell you it’s hard (very, very hard).  It’s not just my body that is in pain but my mental and emotional states as well.  I often feel anxious about my safety.  I’m worried that I might get near someone who smokes.  I can’t just go out with friends that even my social life suffers.  Sometimes, I feel excited about school.  I can be with other children and play a bit.  But most of the time, I’m just that boy in the corner watching them run around.  Being isolated makes me feel distressed.

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A Sedentary Lifestyle Can Lead To Something Else

An asthmatic person cannot do much exercise.   She cannot do strenuous activity.  Not being able to use the energy provided by the food consumed is alarming.  It can make her gain unwanted weight.   The sedentary lifestyle – spending less time outside, doing less activity – can cause her to be obese.  Weight gain is frequently accompanied by depression, especially in women.  They tend to lose their self-esteem.  And the stress they feel can push them to eat more than usual.

What Can You Do

All of us (even children) can do some things to help reduce air pollution.  These small things can have significant effects on the quality of the air we breathe inside and outside our homes.

Yes, you heard me right.   The simplest choice you make every day can affect air pollution.

  • Starting the habit of turning off lights, computers, and other electric appliances when you don’t use them.
  • It is better to use energy efficient appliance and light bulbs.
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  • Carpooling does not only save you money, time and fuel but also promote a healthy social life.
  • Check if your cleaning products are environmentally friendly.
  • Choose hair products that are eco-friendly.
  • Quit smoking! (If you are.)
  • Fill your surroundings with greens (plants).

Planting trees are still the best way to fight air pollution problem in the cities.  The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the United States conducted a study that shows the effectivity of planting trees.  Trees do not only reduce toxic elements in the air we breathe, but it also has a cooling effect of up to 2°C or 3.6°F.  Fruit trees can even be a sustainable livelihood.

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Children and older adults in the urban areas are more likely to suffer the effects of air pollution.  It would be better for them to live in places with more green spaces where they can move around.  Being away from the city decrease their exposure to air pollution and may lessen their asthma attacks.   The lesser the trigger, the more they will be confident to do activities.  They can be more active and more sociable.  Being around other people can lessen their stress and depression.

One (not minor) problem of air pollution can lead to another (asthma) and another (obesity) and to another (mental health issues) long-term issue.

You know it’s more serious than you think or what other experts think.  Physical and mental health issues caused by air pollution have actionable solutions.  But it takes willpower to improve the quality of the air that we breathe.

We all are responsible for helping maintain good quality air that Mother Earth is providing us.

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