Humans have tapped into the healing qualities of nature since the dawn of time. But with the advent of smartphones and instant internet everywhere, society has drifted further from its natural roots and forgotten about the health benefits of nature and the healing properties of Mother Nature.
Feeling the bright morning sun fall across your shoulders can be therapeutic, and if you’re struggling to manage your addiction, there can be amazing benefits when you begin reconnecting with nature as a part of your recovery.
Enjoying nature can be an important component of addiction rehab for many reasons. By connecting with the natural world around you, you can begin to heal the damage you’ve inflicted on your physical body, while tapping into the holistic properties to reestablish a healthy and happy state of mind.
Health Benefits of Nature
- Nature can heal your stress and anxiety – Recent studies have found that the brains of people who spent an hour walking in nature were calmer than those who spent an hour walking in an urban setting. The prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with negative thoughts, quiets when in a natural setting. (1)
- Nature can improve your heart health – Some studies found that being in nature, even for a few hours, has a calming effect on your mind and body – lowering blood pressure and reducing levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in your bloodstream. With the reduction in cortisol, your body automatically returns to a baseline level of homeostasis, which is where healing and restoration can properly take place. (2)
- Nature works to strengthen your immunity – When we breathe in the chemicals that some plants and trees emit, it helps lower blood pressure, reduces cortisol and improves immunity. Recent studies found a marked increase in the number and activity of natural killer cells and even anti-cancer proteins for subjects exposed to forest environments for more than a few hours. The study also found that the results lasted for over seven days after the exposure. (3)
- Nature can help heal traumatic experiences – The feeling of awe you get when looking at an ancient redwood tree or a beautiful waterfall has a profoundly healing effect on your body and mind. That’s why being in a natural setting can inspire a sense of awe that can have a healing effect on people suffering from various types of traumatic experiences. Because when you feel “awe,” your normal brain activity reduces, allowing for the expression of other positive emotions. (4)
How Time in Nature and a Successful Addiction Recovery Are Connected
Walking or running outdoors can make your body feel invigorated. There’s no need to break speed records; just moving at a steady pace for a half hour or so can lift your mood and make you feel a genuine sense of relaxation.
If you have an exercise routine you do every morning, try altering it by performing the same routine outside.
When you make the effort to immerse yourself in nature, you’re able to tap into the areas of your brain that your addiction usually impacts. It can ease your stress while providing a sense of calm and wellness without having to drink alcohol or consume drugs.
The combination of nature with addiction treatment has become an essential component of high-quality treatment facilities. When you allow yourself to become one with the world around you, it’s easier to see the destructive nature of your addictive behaviors, while also building healthier methods of managing difficult emotions. (5)
Why Seek Holistic Treatment When You Want to Fully Recover from Addiction
The reality is that spending more time in nature can facilitate your desire for a deeper spiritual connection with the world around you. It can be a source of strength throughout your recovery journey.
The combination of physical, spiritual and emotional connectivity that comes from Mother Earth can be achieved outdoors, making spending time outdoors an excellent addition to a comprehensive addiction program.
This approach can contribute to the overall success of your recovery, and provide you with invaluable clinical interventions to help you process the struggles you may encounter even after completing treatment.
Holistic Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
We understand how important it is for you to get the life-changing help you need to achieve sobriety.
At Ranch Creek, you’ll enter a healing environment free of distractions and supported by an expert team.
As a luxury, non-12-step rehab in California, we deliver an alternative, holistic approach to addiction rehab. We focus on tailoring each recovery program to address each client’s unique needs.
With a more intimate recovery experience, a higher level of care, a serene environment, individual recovery plans, and a holistic approach, you can be sure you’ll receive everything needed to achieve sobriety and prepare for a thriving, sober life.
Come to our beautiful campuses in Murrieta and Temecula to get holistic treatment in a calming, scenic area. Contact us today to learn more and get your questions answered.
1) PNAS. Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.pnas.org/content/112/28/8567.
2) Journal of Cardiology. Therapeutic effect of forest bathing on human hypertension in the elderly. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.journal-of-cardiology.com/article/S0914-5087(12)00185-2/fulltext#sec0070.
3) Springer Nature. Neuropharmacological activities of phytoncide released from Cryptomeria japonica. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10086-008-0984-2.
4) Bay Nature. UC Berkeley Study: Experiencing ‘Awe’ in Nature Can Bring Healing. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://baynature.org/2018/10/09/uc-berkeley-study-experiencing-awe-in-nature-can-bring-healing/.
5) Psychology Today. Nature, Nurture, and Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/202011/nature-nurture-and-addiction.