How Outdoor Activities Can Help With Trauma

How Outdoor Activities Can Help With Trauma

How Outdoor Activities Can Help With Trauma

Trauma is an enduring presence in our lives that affects our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in deep and significant ways. Nature is unlike other conventional methods in that it can play a very crucial part in the process of trauma healing. While there are various therapeutic options to overcome trauma, nature is something that is always readily available. Restoration Recovery promotes the inclusion of outdoor experiences in the therapeutic process for those who need help with trauma. These experiences provide you with resources that you can use throughout the rest of your life. Outdoor activities can serve as a means of healing, providing comfort, strength, and rejuvenation when overcoming trauma.

Understanding Trauma and Getting Help With Trauma

Trauma is something that happens to us that causes long-term disruption in our abilities to manage the stress of everyday life. It may arise from different sources such as torture, violence, accidents, natural incidents, or bereavement. Trauma disturbs our sense of comfort and safety, making us feel unprotected, fearful, and disconnected from ourselves and others. The effects of trauma can manifest in a myriad of ways, such as:

  • Hyper-arousal: Nervousness, hyper-vigilance, or a startled reaction to senses within your surroundings
  • Intrusive memories: Memories of the traumatic events that occur over and over again, along with flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoidance: Eliminating trauma triggers including locations, individuals, or actions that are linked to the event
  • Mood alteration: Negative alterations in mood or thought processes including feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or despair, as well as distorted views of self or the world

The condition of living in the shadow of trauma is a challenging and lonely experience. Outdoor adventures provide a great opportunity to regain control of your life and feel a sense of calm within the nature of recovery. Trauma can often be at the root of addiction, so it is important to use any resources you can to manage trauma. 

Outdoor Activities to Help With Trauma

The natural world is rich with therapeutic potential. While the outdoors are not necessarily going to fix your traumatic past, they can provide various therapeutic benefits while you are going through the journey of recovery and overcoming your trauma. Outdoor experiences can support trauma recovery in many ways.

Connection With Nature

Spending time in nature helps us to relate to something larger than ourselves, thereby creating a feeling of connection. The peace and serenity that natural places offer can help in escaping the turmoil of trauma and in gaining brief moments of peace and comfort.

Mindfulness and Grounding

Outdoor activities teach us to focus on the moment and to connect with our environment and what we are feeling. The sun on our skin, the rustle of leaves in the wind, or the rhythmic sound of waves breaking on the shore are just three of the numerous invitations that nature extends to our senses, keeping us rooted in the present.

Physical Movement to Help With Trauma

Outdoor activities are often active. They may include hiking, biking, swimming, or just walking in nature. Endorphins are released through physical activity, which are neurotransmitters that contribute to the feeling of happiness and stress reduction. Physical activities can assist in the release of trauma-stored tensions from our bodies, and this makes us reconnect with our physical selves, regaining our vitality. If physical activity is not as enticing to you, there are many ways you can still gain the benefits of nature, just by being outdoors in the fresh air.

Help With Trauma and the Benefits of Nature

The following are just some of the benefits of nature for those who need help with trauma.


As you tackle outdoor challenges, you are obtaining a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Reaching a mountain peak or making it to your destination, outdoor activities can develop confidence, resilience, and self-efficacy. Trauma often causes you to feel that you are incapable of success, limiting what you can accomplish. Through outdoor activities, you can rewrite your trauma and repossess your power and sense of autonomy.

Social Connection and Support

Outdoor activities provide possibilities for socializing. You can bond with friends and loved ones on a hike, by taking part in a group outing, or by enjoying outdoor recreation programs. Socializing with other people who have the same experiences can help lower feelings of loneliness and isolation, giving you a feeling of belonging and companionship. 

Outdoor Activities and Trauma Recovery

Restoration Recovery acknowledges the healing effects of outdoor activities in the process of trauma recovery and includes them in our therapeutic interventions. Our approach to integrating outdoor activities into trauma recovery includes:

  • Nature-based therapy: Integrating nature-based interventions, such as wilderness therapy, provides our clients with opportunities to heal and grow in natural environments
  • Adventure therapy: Using adventurous activity to develop leadership, teamwork, and resilience in challenging situations helps our clients feel empowered in their recovery journey
  • Mindfulness practices: Incorporating mindful approaches (i.e., nature meditation or sensory awareness exercises) helps our clients to develop presence, self-awareness, and emotional regulation within nature
  • Expressive arts: Supporting creative expression with outdoor art, music, or movement activities provides an outlet for emotional processing, self-expression, and healing

We blend these approaches to provide a supportive and nurturing atmosphere in which clients can find a sense of healing through the natural elements around them. As you continue to explore the great outdoors, you will find benefits that are unique to your needs and recovery journey.

Trauma may leave scars, but it does not define us and our future. Using the healing nature of outdoor activities, we start a process of healing, regaining our self, autonomy, and our life back. Nature may not initially come to mind when you think about a therapeutic practice, but there are many therapeutic benefits to the great outdoors and engaging in outdoor activities. These benefits can specifically help with overcoming trauma as well as finding healthy outlets for coping with the stress of recovery. To learn more about how outdoor activities and nature can assist you in overcoming your trauma, get in touch with Restoration Recovery and start the process of recovery today at (888) 290-0925.

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