April Showers Bring May Mental Health

April Showers Bring May Mental Health

Hey friend, happy start to May and mental health awareness month.

You might be wondering what mental health has to do with ecofriendly art. The answer:  EVERYTHING!

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, including how we interact with the natural environment.

Research shows that mental health improves with focused creative time,1 nature art scenes decorating indoor spaces,2 and actually spending time in nature.3 What does this means for you if you’re interested in boosting your mental health this month? First, do something creative. Second, decorate your spaces with scenes from nature, and third, spend time outside.

While I have talked a lot about the effects of creativity on the brain and mental health (see here), I haven’t talked as much about the benefits of being surrounded by or in nature. Let’s explore further.

We can have a positive or negative feedback loop with mental health and nature. For instance, spending time in nature improves our mental health and how we think about it. Conversely, not spending time outdoors has the opposite effect. The further people get from nature, the less they consider it in their decisions, resulting in environmental deterioration, which means lack of clean drinking water, air, soil, local food, and ultimately followed by deteriorating societies, economies, and livelihoods.

As Dr. Jane Goodall so aptly said, “We are all interconnected, people, animals, our environment. When nature suffers, we suffer. And when nature flourishes, we all flourish.” This has a lot to do with the fact that we rely on nature to meet our basic needs, which I’ll get into next week.

For now, I hope you celebrate mental health awareness month with me and do some things that boost yours. Encourage others to join you, and you will be increasing our society’s capacity to think about things beyond ourselves, such as the natural world.



  1. Heenan, Deirdre. "Art as therapy: an effective way of promoting positive mental health?." Disability & Society 21, no. 2 (2006): 179-191.
  2. Nanda, Upali, S. Eisen, Rana S. Zadeh, and Deborah Owen. "Effect of visual art on patient anxiety and agitation in a mental health facility and implications for the business case." Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing 18, no. 5 (2011): 386-393.
  3. Bratman, Gregory N., J. Paul Hamilton, and Gretchen C. Daily. "The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health." Annals of the New York academy of sciences1249, no. 1 (2012): 118-136.


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