This fact sheet addresses environmental wellness and is part of PRA Well-Being’s eight-part Tips for Providers series. The Tips for Providers series highlights how providers can enhance the wellness of individuals with mental health conditions through each of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Each fact sheet examines strategies to enhance that dimension of wellness, provides an overview of how each dimension of wellness relates to the other dimensions, and highlights how each dimension of wellness relates to mental health.  

Environmental wellness involves occupying safe, healthful, and pleasant surroundings. This includes our living and workspaces (e.g., home, office, school), as well as our larger communities (e.g., neighborhood, country, planet). Places that support an individual’s environmental wellness have, as a base, access to clean air, food, and water. The manner in which our surroundings influence our well-being has a strong impact on other dimensions of our wellness. Attention to our environmental wellness is essential to everyone’s well-being but especially the well-being of people seeking treatment for or in recovery from a serious mental illness.  

The spaces we inhabit or frequent can play a positive or negative role in our overall health and well-being. Specific neighborhoods may force unique social determinants on its inhabitants due to either the presence or lack of resources, such as quality education and healthy food. Where negative social determinants contribute to gaps in resources needed to support environmental wellness, community-based organizations and other services can fill these gaps to improve health and life outcomes for the people that live in them.  

Spending time in nature can improve overall mood and lower stress, which means that efforts to enhance environmental and physical wellness can be mutually supportive. Activities such as hiking, swimming, walking, or fishing all encourage connecting with nature. These activities can be a social endeavor as well, supporting both emotional and social wellness. Care providers are encouraged to stress the importance physical wellness to their clients and motivating clients to be active, especially outdoors, to promote overall well-being. If they live in an urban landscape, clients may benefit from frequenting nearby public green spaces or traveling to a nature reserve or trail. Greener environments are linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress. 

View the other fact sheets in this series: 

This resource was first shared in 2019. 

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