Nature Benefits Recovery
Time spent in the great outdoors can be both healing and restorative. Many studies show that there are powerful mental, emotional and physical health benefits to spending time outside doing activities and just generally being immersed in nature.
Recovery is a time of healing and restoring life to a new normal. Spending time in nature can provide experiences and opportunities to reflect, ponder and grow. Whether it’s camping, hiking, going to a park, or sitting outside on the porch swing, taking a break from the fast-paced technology laden life that most live in can strengthen sobriety.
Generally, spending time in nature and outdoors tends to increase physical activity as well. Studies show that physical activity strengthens confidence and helps prevent relapses. Walking and hiking have been linked to depression prevention as well as lessening depression symptoms. Being outside in nature can also reduce feelings of stress, anger and anxiety and it drops blood pressure and helps improve mental functions such as memory and concentration.
Simple ways to get out and experience nature while in recovery may include: hiking and rock climbing, starting a backyard garden, just sitting outside, or taking your family to the park to play. Just replacing a TV show or two that you’d normally watch with a neighborhood walk will greatly improve your mental clarity and overall peacefulness in recovery. Too many of us spend too much time indoors focused on computers, TVs, and/or smartphones. Redirecting time to nature and outdoor activities will strengthen and enhance recovery.
For more ideas on how to connect with nature and the environment, see Green That Life: Your Guide to a Sustainable Lifestyle.