Recovery from addiction can be both difficult and lengthy. It is important to have as many coping mechanisms to support recovery as possible. One way to help combat the challenges of addiction is incorporating elements of nature into one’s recovery journey. This can be done in a variety of ways and is known to be beneficial for addiction treatment.
First, nature can help balance the kind of energy inside of the body. Being in nature can help to restore balance and bring one of the body and mind back into equilibrium. You can also find gratitude and wonder in nature, usually providing more positive feelings than negative ones. By acknowledging these positive emotions, it can help reduce cravings as well as the stress associated with withdrawal.
In addition to mental health benefits, exposure to nature can also have physical benefits. Nature helps your body reach homeostasis, or a balance in the body’s environment, biology, and psychology. Cognitive processes such as confusion, difficulty making decisions, or fast and shallow thought can all be improved when exposed to ‘green light’, or light coming from nature.
Furthermore, nature provides an accepting and forgiving space that allows an individual to be held free of judgement. Addiction can fuel an often relentless, vicious cycle of thinking, and nature helps to diffuse rigid thought patterns, helping individuals to calm their minds and reconnect with their inner-selves. Lastly, being in nature can help foster feelings of humility and appreciation in one’s life. Experiments have found that contact with nature can lead to greater feelings of appreciation for all that life has to offer, providing some distance from the chaos of addiction.
Nature is a powerful reconnection to the self and provides an opportunity for clarity of mind and thought. Exposure to nature can empower individuals to reclaim control of their addiction, increase emotional resilience, and reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, being in nature has been known to have intangible physiological benefits, such as the increased growth of serotonin.
There are a range of ways to incorporate nature into your addiction recovery. The most important thing is to begin gradually. Going outside to a park or beach just for a few minutes a day is an easy way to start and can provide a sense of accomplishment, as well as a way to connect with nature. While exposure to nature doesn’t directly treat addiction, it can be an important aspect of your recovery journey, providing a sense of peace and relaxation at any stage of recovery.