Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Understanding the Increase in Popularity of Sustainable Communities

All over the country, we are seeing more and more sustainable communities. Pedro Martin has been at the forefront of developing these neighborhoods, where the focus is on using responsible resources. In some areas, communal living is even encouraged. So what are the top reasons why these communities are now so popular?

1. They Protect the Planet

One of the key elements of a sustainable community is that it is eco-conscious. This means using renewable and sustainable materials in the construction of the homes, and a community commitment to using low-emission vehicles, carpooling, lowering energy consumption, and gathering energy through sustainable technology. Sometimes, this is a written rule for living in the community, as it will be dedicated to lowering its carbon footprint and leaving it at a certain level.

2. They Help to Educate Others

Secondly, a sustainable community serves as a role model to the general public, showing them that living responsibly does not mean living in a mud hut. Some even hold outreach events in which others are taught about composting, reducing energy consumption, and working with the government to get assistance to become more sustainable. It is about leading by example.

3. It Promotes a Sense of Community

In today’s world, people who live next door to each other are virtually strangers. The community bond has been lost. In sustainable communities, however, everybody works together to keep the area green, fostering interaction, communication, and networking. Overall, it makes it a nicer, friendlier place to live.

4. It Has an Economic Advantage

Sustainable communities are eco-conscious and engage in various activities to maintain this. For instance, they can take over a derelict piece of land and build something new on it. This was seen in parts of Seattle, Greenville, SC, Cleveland, OH, and even Detroit. Essentially, it provided deprived areas with a breath of life, creating new neighborhoods out of the ashes of the old one.

5. They Promote Governmental Change

In order for sustainability to really work, the government has to get on board. Some have. For instance, California and Maryland provide tax credits to sustainable communities. Eco-activists are a type of political activist. They make sure that their elected official pays attention and brings this back to the wider government. This was strongly seen in San Francisco, CA, for instance, where green communities ended up dictated how corporations had to behave in their environments, green spaces, and communities.

Clearly, eco-conscious communities are rising in popularity for good reason. It is very important to promote sustainable living and renewable technologies, because it helps the world as a whole, and communities in particular. Companies like Terra Group, through the work of Pedro Martin, are playing a key role in creating more sustainable communities for people across the country – and even the world – to enjoy. Every effort made is a step in the right direction and has the potential to change the entire planet for the better, leaving a clean, green space for the next generation.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.