Most people know getting some form of exercise is good for them. They don’t always want to do it, but getting a little bit of walking in or even time in nature can be healing. Not only is it good to get fresh air, but it clears the mind and cleans out the immune system. When anxiety or depression is high, that is the most difficult time to get outside or go to the gym. Nature is just a few steps away and accessible for most people who live near any kind of green space. Even in the desert, there is beauty. Nature is really anything that is not in the confines of four walls. Find out why nature has therapeutic remedies to offer people in recovery from addiction and support their mental health.
Peace and Calm
The world is a hectic place. Running from one activity to another, traveling by car everywhere, and spending time on social media has isolated people from each other. Nature plays an integral role in the quest for fulfillment. Many authors including Waldo and Darwin wrote about the love of nature and staying close to it. In fact, we are part of nature as humans. We forget this because we think of ourselves as higher-level creatures with the ability to go where we want, do as we please, and not think about how it affects other animals. The thing to remember is, everything is connected. Animals, trees, the environment all depend on a cycle of life. Peace and calm can come from realizing this interconnected nature and oneness with everything around us. Nature helps increase positive mental health and spiritual well being. This can lower stress and enhance a sense of confidence and connection to the community, which helps push back against addictive or toxic behaviors.
Being outdoors releases stress. There is no doubt about the ability of the mind and body to think more clearly and feel less stressed when in nature. Improved work performance and job satisfaction are also part of the ways nature helps people. Stress comes from pushing and pursuing things that tax the mind and body. It can also come from a long-term chronic illness, from being addicted to substances, or a result of not being able to manage a mental health issue effectively. With the right tools, a person can learn how to do this. Just go outside and take a deep breath.
Purpose and Hope
One of the things people in recovery struggle with is finding meaning and purpose. When they were using substances, they had a purpose to their days. Even if it was not a good one, they woke up and went o bed mostly knowing what they were going to be doing if they were far along in their addiction. It can take every ounce of energy to get up when addicted, so the person only focuses on finding more substances because the brain cannot think of much else after awhile. Even if a person is high functioning, they struggle to focus on other activities. To seek hope and purpose means to slow down. Look around and see what is going on besides what happens in a person’s body and head. It feels difficult to look outside oneself and experience nature or the wonder around. The world is fascinating and filled with meaning, but it is not always easy to stop and see it. This is a vital part of recovery. Purpose and belonging are something every person can seek if they are willing to pause long enough to go on the hunt.
The muscles needed in recovery are typically mental and spiritual, not so much physical. Even though the physical body is impacted by addiction, it takes other muscles of personal awareness to grow and heal. Physically the body needs movement. It also needs spiritual and emotional rest from the tiresome activity of recovery. A strenuous trek is not for every person, nor is climbing mountains or rock walls and other things like this. Nature can be observed quietly (bird watching), walks on the beach are calming, and seeing a sunset is just as relaxing as going for a walk or jog for some people. The goal is to find what works for each individual and do that activity when they need a stress release.
When women think about therapeutic support in nature, they are likely thinking of different things than men. They may want to do yoga, dance, and experience a different type of nature adventure than men. It’s all dependent on how women want to be outside. Some like more adventurous water activities, some like to walk along the beach. Some people might like to go rock climbing, and others want to ride horses or just be in a park. However, a woman wants to experience nature depends on what she feels capable of doing right now in recovery and what will support her journey forward. Therapy is all about reaching further than a person thought possible but also not pushing too hard against boundaries when the person is healing in recovery. Overall, nature can provide different therapeutic benefits and support a long-lasting recovery.
Casa Capri helps women in recovery find their tribe. We are all about women coming to us with the world on their shoulders and finding hope in the community. Our goal is to provide therapy, tools, treatment, and support for the journey. We also provide opportunities to be in nature, try yoga, and just be present to yourself. If you are ready to give up substances, call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.