Nature and animals have a healing power that can help aid recovery from addiction. Consider a three-fold approach when using nature for addiction recovery: connecting to the earth, connecting with animals, and connecting with your emotions. For some people, reconnecting with nature is calming and grounding. For those in recovery, nature can be a powerful tool to help break the cycle of addiction. Some experts recommend spending time in nature as a part of their treatment protocols. Here are some ways people can use nature as a part of their recovery program.
Depression and Anxiety During Recovery
Nature helps an individual with a substance use disorder to overcome their mental or emotional challenges. For instance, many people in recovery also experience depression and anxiety. Nature boosts a person’s overall well-being. For example, being outside in nature increases one’s oxygen intake and lowers one’s cortisol levels, thus relaxing a person’s mind and giving them time to rest.
Nature therapy increases a person’s overall well-being by:
- Promoting relaxation and a sense of connection with the natural environment
- Lowering blood pressure
- Having a grounding influence—especially for those in recovery
- Calming you by letting you feel the elements like sunshine, wind, and rain
- Allowing you to escape the stress of life—even for just a moment
- Lessening the severity of withdrawal symptoms
Essentially, nature is like a therapist’s couch and can help uncover the root of the issue surrounding substance use disorder. In addition, nature can help unpack the anxieties or sadness that may plague us.
Practicing Movement in Nature
We benefit considerably from moving, breathing, feeling, and being in harmony with nature. Being surrounded by nature fosters and enhances all of these activities. Exercise is a natural and effective method to train and foster emotional and mental well-being. Exercising in nature can help a person maintain a regular health routine.
At the Restoration Recovery Center, you can find our center at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, immersed in this gorgeous scenery. It is not uncommon to see our clients taking in the tranquil environment that surrounds them. They can go on long walks, hikes, or runs through the beautiful mountains to ease their stress, unwind, and regroup. The benefits of exercising in nature go much deeper than exercise. Studies have noted the serenity and increased endorphins that come from wandering through nature. Sobriety can be arduous at times and a person in recovery could always do with more serenity and endorphins.
Integrating Nature Into Your Life
Nature has always been a source of wonder. It is an endless supply of beautiful landscapes, fresh air, and natural sounds. There are many ways to incorporate nature into your life, the easiest being simply spending more time outside. Here are four ways to make nature a part of your life:
#1 Volunteer for a Good Cause
Nature provides opportunities for selfless acts, helping your neighbors, improving your community, and serving the world. There are many volunteering opportunities to be had.
You could volunteer at a nature reserve or wildlife habitat. If you live near a nature reserve, look at how to sign up to volunteer, either short-term or ongoing. For example, you may work on volunteer efforts involving native plants or wildlife and clean the local beach or park. In addition, you can volunteer to give nature walks to children or organize and assist in a community garden. Overall, volunteering allows you to contribute your skills and talents to protect our environment.
#2 Explore the Neighborhood
Nature is truly a place to heal, transform, and recharge. You can experience it even in your own neighborhood. Consider taking a daily walk around your neighborhood or city. As you do, observe different scenery. Pay attention to the cycle of nature: leaves changing color, flowers blooming, plants budding, birds chirping, etc. Or take a nature break by having a picnic or sitting on a bench in your local park.
#3 Listen to the Sounds of Nature
Listening to calming nature sounds will fill you with inner peace. Certain sounds, like those found in nature, facilitate stress management, lower anxiety levels, and promote better sleep.
Some of the most popular natural sounds you can add to your everyday living space include rain, wind, the sound of a river, and the noise of a waterfall. You can find these sounds outside or on video-sharing platforms. Try setting your radio to a nature station. Nature sounds and nature can help you achieve a state of reflection and relaxation.
#4 Practice Meditation
Meditation is a tool that allows us to regenerate and rejuvenate our souls and bodies. You can use nature as part of a meditative practice in your recovery treatment. If you live close to the beach, try meditating there for ten minutes every morning. Find an outdoor place to relax or read. Lay down on a blanket and close your eyes.
Nature therapy is one of the most effective ways to combat addiction. It provides calming effects, as well as an escape from screens and other technology, two great reasons you should consider adding nature into your recovery plan. It’s a way to get back in touch with yourself again, providing an opportunity for self-reflection. Spending time outdoors allows you to connect with the earth, animals, and your emotions. At Restoration Recovery Center, we can help you incorporate nature therapy into your overall treatment program. We can help you implement guided walks, outdoor activities, mindfulness practices, or meditation into your daily routine and recovery plan. We offer yoga classes, hikes, music therapy, breathwork, trauma therapy, and nature therapy to help you heal and recover. The benefits of incorporating nature into our lives can’t be overstated. We are located in the beautiful wooded landscape of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Call us today at (888) 290-0925.