Get Back to Nature to Support Recovery
Being outside and enjoying nature have great restorative powers. You don’t have to take a weeks-long wilderness adventure to reap the benefits that the great outdoors offers. Simply spending time in a park or working in front of a window with a view of a green space can work wonders for your mind, lower stress and help your recovery. As you work through your recovery and toward the ability to resist cravings and the urge to relapse, make nature a part of your process.
How Nature Benefits Health
Anyone who spends time outdoors can tell you that it makes you feel good. Fresh air, the smell of grass and views of natural scenery are pleasurable. With that in mind, we also have the concrete proof from researchers that nature is good for health. Psychology researchers have found that nature has an effect on a person’s mental abilities, relationships with others and even physical health.
Being in nature seems to restore psychological well-being. After completing fatiguing tasks, for instance, a walk in a park helped participants in an experiment perform better on tasks than those who did not get the nature break. Other studies found that patients recovering from surgery heal faster when able to view or interact with nature in some way. Some studies have found that people feel invigorated and alive when out in nature and that the energy boost is better than what they get from a cup of coffee.
Nature and Addiction
Knowing that nature and the outdoors are restorative and generally positive for overall health, it comes as no surprise that they can also help support addiction recovery. The healing qualities of being outdoors and being in touch with nature can help you resist urges to relapse and start using again. Wilderness therapy programs have long been popular for teens struggling with addiction, mental illness and behavioral issues. When conducted in a safe and responsible manner, these programs can have a powerful impact on the lives of young people.
So how can you get more nature in your life? If you have the time and the resources, taking a vacation can be an amazing restorative experience. Rent a cabin by a lake or take a tour of National Parks. Spend your days hiking, swimming, canoeing and leave your smartphone at home. You will come home from a trip like this feeling powerful in your sobriety, refreshed and balanced.
If you don’t have the time or the money to take a nature trip, there are other options that are cheap or free that will give you a similar impact. If you work inside all day, make sure you take the time each and every day to get outside. Taking a walk in a local park can be all the nature you need to feel refreshed and better able to face temptations. Enjoy a good book while sitting outside. Work in front of a window that faces trees. Any of these simple solutions will give you the healing power of nature.
Being in recovery, especially soon after embracing sobriety, can be a difficult and frustrating time. Temptation is all around you and cravings may seem overwhelming at times. Nature is here to help you. Being outside is free and is available everywhere. Even if you live in a city, you can spend time in parks to enjoy the bounty that nature has to offer.