The Great Outdoors | South Central MIRECC - MIRECC / CoE
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The Great Outdoors | South Central MIRECC

Person walking on the beach

About The Great Outdoors: Engaging with Nature for Mental Health

These materials support Veterans by helping them engage in positive and healthy nature-based activities. The materials integrate the science of the benefits of engaging with nature, with the well-established approaches of behavioral activation, mindfulness, and other positive psychology exercises. The clinician manual supports the delivery of a very brief (1-2 session) or brief (3-5) session intervention in a variety of settings. The Veteran guide can be used as part of a clinician-delivered intervention, or as a self-help intervention. The material:

  • Provides an overview of the science on the benefits of nature engagement and greenspace exposure.
  • Includes an activity to review one's past and current engagement in nature.
  • Integrates principles of motivational interviewing to resolve ambivalence.
  • Encourages value identification/prioritization and discovering nature-based activities that can support living out those values.
  • Uses goal setting, activity scheduling, and behavior monitoring to help Veterans increase their nature engagement.
  • Provides links to guided audio exercises, including 5 mindfulness exercises, 1 savoring exercise, and 2 guided imagery exercises.
  • Published 2022

Guides


Audio

Mindfulness in Nature Exercises
Savoring Activities
Guided Imagery Exercises

Audio Transcripts

Mindfulness in Nature Exercises
Savoring Activities
Guided Imagery Exercises

Developer

Austen R. Anderson, PhD

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Use of these Materials and Finding VA Health Care

Please note that the health care information provided in these materials is for educational purposes only. It does not replace the role of a medical practitioner for advice on care and treatment. If you are looking for professional medical care, find your local VA healthcare center by using the VA Location Directory. This page may contain links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

Last updated: April 22, 2022