Skip to main content ConnectSubgroupsMental Health and Well-Being

Mental Health and Well-Being

This group serves as a community of practice for Extension personnel and their community partners who share a commitment to improving mental health through a focus on social and emotional well-being. Members are encouraged to create blog posts, publicize upcoming events, share resources, and engage with other members on issues of common interest.

Time in Nature Improves Mental Health


As temperatures warm and calendars fill, one mental health strategy is to spend time in nature. Research has found that humans are wired to crave time in nature. Connecting with nature has been associated with decreases in perceived stress, decreases in negative emotions, and increases in positive emotions. Spending time in nature has also been shown to increase cognition, memory, creativity, and sleep quality.

There are a variety of ways to increase nature time. Exercise is a wonderful activity for mental and physical health; bringing your exercise outside is even better. Try walking, jogging, riding a bike, or classes such as outdoor yoga, tai chi, or Zumba. Gardening is also a wonderful way to get outside. Activities involved in gardening such as digging, planting, weeding, and watering are great ways to increase physical activity, and the act of gardening itself can be like a form of meditation. Volunteering for a community garden is also one way to meet people and decrease isolation, which can boost mental health.

Other ideas to increase nature time include bird watching, visiting local arboretums or botanical gardens, and having meals outside. Whether it’s a walk down your street or a visit to a national park, spending time in nature can significantly increase mental wellbeing.

Add Comment

Comments (0)


About the Extension Foundation

This website is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of use at

Link copied to your clipboard.