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How Exposure to Nature Supports Your Recovery

Our modern, sedentary lifestyles don’t afford most people a lot of natural opportunities to get outside. We’ve gotten used to spending our days indoors, interacting with the world largely through various screens. In celebrating National Great Outdoors Month this June, how does being outside benefit your health, and how can you make a more conscious effort to connect with nature?

Healthy Reasons to Go Outside More Often

Your surroundings can profoundly influence your mood and well-being. Even subtle changes in your environment can affect the way you feel. Researchers have found that people unconsciously respond differently to various colors and lighting in a room, so it stands to reason that stepping outdoors could have similar effects. Even a few minutes outside can provide mental, physical and spiritual benefits such as:

  • Lower stress levels and blood pressure
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills
  • More mental and physical energy
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Immune system boost
  • Provides a healthy hobby to help you avoid the relapse trigger of boredom
  • Relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Ability to sleep better
  • Feelings of awe

In other words, being outdoors is an excellent form of physical and mental therapy – and Mother Nature has provided these bountiful benefits for free!  

Ideas for Incorporating Nature Into Your Recovery

If you haven’t already made a habit of going outside for your health, you might be wondering how to explore the natural world for your sobriety and overall wellness. Here are some suggestions you can try.

  • Plant a garden: Tending to plants and eating produce you’ve grown yourself is incredibly rewarding.
  • Go for a walk: Whether it’s around your neighborhood or in a nearby park, even walking at a moderate pace can get your heart rate up and boost your mood.
  • Take your exercise routine outside: Many types of exercise, like hiking, swimming, biking and running, are even more fun to do outside than they are in the gym.
  • Join an adult sports league: Communities often offer open enrollment for team sports such as volleyball, kickball, softball and flag football for adults to socialize and meet new people while enjoying some friendly competition. 
  • Try geocaching: Geocaching is a unique activity that blends the enjoyment of hiking with the excitement of uncovering buried treasure. Millions of people have hidden geocaches all around the world, so there are probably some near you right now. Round up some of your sober supporters and make an afternoon of it!  
  • Go birdwatching: Birds are amazing creatures, and there’s incredible diversity among bird species. Get yourself a pair of binoculars and a birdwatching field guide, and start identifying the birds who visit your backyard.  
  • Organize a picnic in the park: Whether you put together a simple lunch such as sandwiches and fruit salad, or get fancy with more upscale offerings, everyone enjoys al fresco dining.

Addiction Recovery in Taos, New Mexico

The restorative power of nature is on full display in Taos, where the Sangre de Cristo mountain range provides a stunning backdrop for beginning your journey toward healing. At Vista Taos Renewal Center, we believe in providing frequent excursions into nature as part of our holistic approach to treating substance abuse. Learn more about coming to Vista Taos today.  

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