How Can Spending Time in Nature Benefit My Recovery?

benefits of spending time in nature in recovery

Spending time in nature has been shown to offer many health benefits, including less stress and better physical health.[1] 

These effects can be significant for people who are in recovery from addiction. When used as part of a treatment program, connecting with nature can help heal their physical and emotional discomfort and make it less likely that they will relapse in the future. 

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we offer effective, nature-focused treatment for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Addiction specialists individualize treatment plans to empower people in recovery from addiction. Each carefully designed adventure-based rehab program uses nature and meditation to heal the body and mind. 

The Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Nature in Addiction Recovery

One of the most critical aspects of addiction and recovery is discovering new ways to handle stress and discomfort. You must also find new ways to care for your body and mind. 

Spending time in nature during addiction treatment can be life-changing. Some of the most important benefits include:

Stress Reduction

Research shows that spending a short amount of time outdoors can reduce stress. A short break to soak up nature can decrease blood pressure and heart rate. The benefits can start in as little as 10 minutes.[2] 

Reduced Depression and Anxiety

Spending time in nature can be a powerful tool during addiction recovery. Research shows that about 30 minutes in nature per week can reduce people’s depression symptoms by about 7%.[3] Are you feeling anxious? Taking a 50-minute walk has been shown to reduce a person’s anxiety. Anxiety and depression can trigger a relapse. Finding a new, effective way to cope with these emotions can help you stay focused during recovery.    

Increased Activity and Exercise

The effects of addiction, including lack of physical activity, poor diet, and inadequate sleep, can take their toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. You can use exercise as a tool to support whole-person healing during addiction recovery. In addition to improving overall health, it can also improve your self-confidence. 

You don’t need to train for a marathon or take up weight lifting to get the benefits of exercise. A walk in a natural setting or some gentle yoga can be enough to get the benefits. Incorporating enjoyable movement into your daily routine can help soothe your body and mind during recovery. 

Restorative Sleep

Substance abuse often interferes with a person’s ability to get good, restorative sleep. Research shows that spending time outdoors and increasing your daily activity can help improve your sleep quality.[4] Decreasing your overall stress level can help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed. 

Less Boredom

Part of recovery from addiction involves deciding how you spend your time. Finding an outdoor hobby may help you balance the rigors of recovery. Engaging in outdoor recreation may also help you connect with other people who enjoy the same activities.  

What Should I Do to Get the Benefits of Nature in Addiction Recovery?

You do not have to climb mountains or run marathons to get the benefits of nature in addiction recovery. Simply spending a little more time in the great outdoors can be enough to impact how you feel during recovery. 

Some ways to increase your time in nature include:

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood or park
  • Writing, drawing, or playing music outdoors
  • Planting a garden or growing plants in pots on the patio
  • Stretching or doing yoga outdoors
  • Working, reading, or socializing outdoors when possible
  • Camping, hiking, or exploring a nearby state park

Many addiction treatment facilities have started to use nature therapy and outdoor recreation as part of their recovery programs. Holistic therapies, including outdoor recreation and adventure therapy, may also play an essential role in your relapse prevention or aftercare plan. Spending time outdoors can help you find new joy and purpose in your life in recovery. 

How to Incorporate Time Outdoors Into Your Addiction Treatment and Recovery

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we use outdoor activities and holistic treatments as a part of our recovery programs because we know they provide essential benefits. It is vitally important to care for the mind, body, and spirit during addiction treatment, and nature can play a vital role in a person’s healing.

People may engage in outdoor recreation as part of their addiction treatment program. Addiction treatment generally begins with detox. After completing detox, people work through a personalized treatment plan that includes evidence-based and holistic therapies, including nature therapy and outdoor recreation.

After completing treatment, it is crucial to find new structure and meaning in your life and be intentional about your self-care. Staying active and spending time in nature may help you feel more confident and engaged in your recovery. 

Find The Help You Need

If you or someone you love requires addiction treatment, you do not have to walk this journey alone. Reach out to the staff at Moving Mountains Recovery for more information about the high-quality holistic treatment programs we offer. 

We believe that addiction is a whole-self condition, and we offer adaptable programs to treat people’s bodies, minds, and spirits. We also provide support to people’s families and communities. Reach out to us to start your recovery journey today. 

References:

  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981243/
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep28551
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8411876/
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