New Year's resolutions to improve your overall happiness can also go hand-in-hand with being kinder to the planet, the Washington Post reports. Some of the most effective, scientifically vetted means of increasing both physical and mental well-being also come with very low energy budgets. This means less strain on the planet's finite resources while still reaping personal benefits—an added bonus that should make these activities all the more enjoyable.
Joseph Kantenbacher, a University of California, Berkeley, doctoral candidate, crunched data on how people use their time when they're not working and on how much energy those activities take up, the Post continues. For something like a restaurant meal, Kantenbacher took into account the energetic cost of growing, transporting and cooking the food, for example, while a sports event included the shared electricity used at the stadium and the transportation cost of getting fans to the field.
The least energetic activities—sleeping, hanging out with friends at home and pursuing hobbies or volunteering—are also some of the most beneficial to our well being, Kantenbacher found. Lack of sleep has been implicated in problems ranging from obesity to diabetes, the Post writes, while hanging out with friends or doing hobbies connects us with others and contributes to overall life happiness.
Here, you can see the full results of Kantenbacher's analysis: