Recovering from addiction requires effort on several fronts. One is making healthy lifestyle changes including eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. A frequently overlooked aspect of self-care is spending time in nature. Not only is spending time in nature good for you by itself, but it also supercharges your other healthy lifestyle choices. Here are three reasons why spending time in nature is good for your recovery.
Nature Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Many studies have now found a strong connection between time spent in nature and better mental health. One study of more than 900,000 Danish people found that people who grew up in greener areas had lower rates of all 16 mental health issues the researchers looked at, including anxiety disorders, major depression, and bipolar disorder, all of which increase your risk of addiction.
Another study, this one from Stanford, split participants into two groups; one group was asked to walk along a busy city street for 90 minutes and the other group was asked to walk through a natural grassland with trees and shrubs for 90 minutes. Participants were given brain scans before and after their walks. The participants who had walked in the natural setting reported less stress and anxiety afterward and their brain scans showed less activity in a part of the brain associated with rumination. Rumination, or getting stuck in a rut of obsessively rehashing your problems, is associated with depression and anxiety.
Nature Creates Feelings of Awe
Awe is the feeling you get when you experience something too vast to comprehend. You might experience awe when you hike in the mountains or stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Awe-inspiring experiences are great in themselves, but research shows they have a number of other benefits too. Several studies have found that awe increases prosocial behavior such as generosity, helping, making more ethical decision, and feeling less entitled. As a result, feeling awe more often can help your relationships and your general sense of perspective.
Nature Keeps You Moving
If you’re spending time in nature, you’re probably doing something–walking, hiking, running, climbing, rowing, biking, camping, and so on. Nature promotes activity and exploration. Not only are you more active, but you’re in a healthier environment with cleaner air and more sunshine. Even a 20 minute walk in the park combines the stress-busting effects of exercise with the stress-busting effects of spending time in nature.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently.
No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474