People say you can’t rush the process — and it’s true.

You can, however, drastically improve your recovery process and achieve long-lasting change by utilizing one simple, free and incredibly powerful form of treatment: nature therapy.

In addition to being one of the healthiest hobbies to replace substance use, nature therapy is full of countless benefits that our minds, bodies, hearts and souls can all draw strength from.

We can get so wrapped up in our indoor lives, especially now that most of us have returned to work full-time and many are working from home — but there’s a big, beautiful world right outside your front door. Some people might need to take a little drive to get there, but it’s still there.

Establishing the daily habit of spending time outdoors, even if only for 20 or 30 minutes a day (break those sessions up, if need be), is not only beneficial to your recovery, but essential for maintaining strong mental and physical health.

Benefits of being outdoors

Spending regular and extended amounts of time outdoors can benefit every area of your health, including your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. 

The top benefits of going outside regularly are:

  • Stronger lungs and easier breathing
  • Deeper and more consistent sleep patterns
  • Reduced depression, stress and anxiety
  • Increased motivation to be active
  • Improved mental health and brain function
  • Stronger immune system and reduced risk of illness
  • Stabler and more positive emotional well-being

The average American spends seven hours a day looking at screens. Between this and a poor diet, it’s no wonder Americans are unhappier and unhealthier than ever; we’re actively hurting ourselves on a daily basis, with all of the self-harming habits we’ve created over the years.

Ways to practice nature therapy

One of the greatest aspects of nature therapy is how many different ways there are to enjoy it. 

If you’re feeling reluctant about practicing nature therapy because you don’t think you’re going to like it, be honest with yourself about where that resistance or fear is coming from. Sometimes a parent is especially forceful about us being outdoors in a specific way (such as through a sport we might not have liked); other times, we had a traumatic experience in a certain natural setting.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to enjoy nature in any way that may upset you or trigger an unpleasant memory.

If you don’t want to go rock climbing, don’t go rock climbing; walk on the beach instead. If you don’t want to run through the woods, don’t run through the woods; sit on the grass and read a book instead. Don’t have easy access to a natural setting? Create a small garden (even if that means in planters in your kitchen) and scatter plants throughout your house.

Give yourself permission to get curious and try new nature-based activities. Let go of the activities you don’t enjoy, and have fun experimenting with new practices. Find the nature activities that make you want to spend even more time outside, that fill your heart with joy — those are the activities that are going to help you heal the most.

Get started today

Many people find themselves uncomfortable in nature due to the silence. Silence removes a lot of the distractions, noise and business that usually enables us to avoid the more painful or difficult areas of our lives. Areas you may have been consciously or unconsciously avoiding.

We’re here to help you work through those challenges, no matter how new or old, painful or numb, fearful or ready you are. You’re not alone; our team here at Silver Ridge supports you.

Silver Ridge is a premier behavioral and mental health rehabilitation center that specializes in helping adults recover, reclaim and rebuild their lives. We’ve carefully developed a holistic approach to treatment that supports your physical, mental and spiritual health through a variety of proven treatment modalities.

To learn more about which of our programs is the right fit for you, contact us today.