Nature has a great many healing properties and has been proven to help alleviate symptoms of addiction and mental disorders. We have long known that nature possesses therapeutic qualities, but when they are applied specifically to addiction and mental disorders, the results are astounding. This is why so many addiction treatment centers and mental health clinics recommend nature therapy and even include it in their treatment plans. Nature has the ability to calm and reset the mind, restoring it to its original health. Nature also inspires and protects mental space for reflection and introspection, which are vital in defeating addiction and mental disorders.
It has been proven in studies that one week of camping literally resets a person’s biological clock and puts them into a perfect sleep rhythm. Think about the mental health benefits that nature has, comparatively. If time in nature naturally resets a person’s biological rhythm, it has the ability to restore the mind to its most natural condition. Nature has a calming and soothing effect on people, allowing them to take a more relaxed pace than they would in the civilized world. Nature is responsible for strong feelings of inner peace within people.
Most importantly, for those suffering from addiction or mental disorders, nature inspires the kind of reflection that can help a person make cognitive behavioral decisions to change their life. Amid the chaos of the civilized world, where we build our lives, our homes, our professions and our relationships, there is very little time and mental space for reflection. In fact, our socialized existence promotes constantly being busy and not allowing time for reflection, which is not to our mental health benefit. A critical element of changing your behavioral psychology and thought patterns is personal reflection in the form of critical thinking, journaling, engaging in self-help exercises and envisioning what you want your future to look like. Time in nature holds everything that clutters the mind at bay so that you can take some much needed time to personally heal.
Before mankind began constructing cities and houses, nature was literally our home, as well as our living environment and recreation space. We are intrinsically connected to nature, sharing its molecules and chemical compositions. It stands to reason then that immersing ourselves in nature returns us to a peaceful and nature state of existence. Incidentally, scientific and psychological studies arrive at the same conclusion. Interacting with nature helps us heal from wounds, cope with difficulties and find our inner peace through its basic life elements: fresh air, naturally occurring things and silence.
Merely breathing in fresh air has been found to have immense physical and mental health benefits to people. Physicians have been recommending to people with ailments for years to travel to somewhere with clean air for recuperation. Polluted air carries toxins, but the fresh air found in a protected natural area brings more oxygen to the body and cleanses the system of toxins. It also helps restore and regulate brain function for mental clarity.
The elements of nature, such as plant life, rocks, rivers and more actually play a part in our health as well. Recent studies have found that being in close proximity of growing trees has health benefits for humans. There are also a variety of plants found in nature that are used as natural food and medicine. We all know which plants we can put into a garden or farm for food, but plants of the wild outdoors also have medicinal and nutritional benefits.
One of the most important things nature offers us is silence. Much of the stress and mental hardships we experience in our lives can be attributed to merely being overstimulated by the world we live in. We are required to process more information in this age than we ever have in the past and we are truly bombarded by it. Immersing ourselves in nature is the ultimate way of decluttering our minds and resetting our biological clocks, which is vitally necessary to our mental health.
If you are serious about defeating your addiction or properly coping with your mental disorder, one of the first things you should do is think critically about all of the elements that make up your life and determine which ones are contributing to, facilitating or simply triggering your dysfunctional behavior. Addictions and disorders will find footholds to re-enter your life through the chaos and unhealthiness that you associate with. This may be in the form of financial concerns, job and school stress or relationship difficulties.
Financial troubles take a lot out of us, and sap us of energy that we need to keep our heads above the water in other areas of our lives. Financial problems are known to set off addiction tendencies and mental disorder symptoms because financial problems are stress inducing. If your addiction or disorder is repeatedly affected by financial trouble, do whatever you have to do to change your financial life, such as redoing your budget or using the services of a financial adviser.
In a similar sense, the stress that comes with a profession or with schooling can prompt destructive behavior. Jobs and school can apply enormous pressure to perform well, and some people choose to cope with this stress through addiction, or may have an emotional meltdown if they have a disorder. For those whom this applies to, it is very important to strengthen your coping abilities so that your behavior does not turn dysfunctional under the weight of high expectations.
And lastly, when you are having struggles in a personal relationship, whether it is romantic, familial or friendly in nature, stress can be at an all time high. We are in a peaceful state when our relationships are going smoothly, but if they are in turmoil, people with addictions and disorders can be set off. It is important to learn to approach relationships in a healthy manner, with an open heart but also with defined boundaries. This will prevent stress that leads to addiction binges and mental disorder breakdowns.
The world can be a very stressful place. It is difficult to find an adult who is not busy with work or school, social and family obligations, extracurricular activities, housekeeping and more. One only has to do a little research into stress to learn how pervasive it is, and how desperately people are seeking an escape from it. Professional counseling and anti-anxiety medications are costly. Substance abuse and addiction are horribly destructive, mentally and physically. Why spend money or turn to something harmful to escape when the outdoors have proven to be the most effective remedy for stress and hardships in the world? In order to have a spiritual recovery from addiction and mental disorder, consider taking the time to revisit the natural world.
People have been drawn to the great outdoors since the beginning of time. There is a beauty and wonder in nature that we cannot quite explain or comprehend, and contemplating it can be a very pure kind of therapy. Regardless of how one spends time in nature, there is always something beneficial they can take from the experience. The wide open spaces give us a sense of freedom, the natural aromas soothe our senses and the aesthetic beauty moves us emotionally in a positive way.
Nature therapy is so effective that there are professional counselors and mental health experts that lead nature therapy retreats and seminars for people looking to cope with stress and center themselves. These retreats can last anywhere from part of a day to several weeks and usually consist of meditation and activities in nature. It is wise to combine mental exercise and physical exercise in nature when looking to clear the mind of stress. It has been proven that the brain processes information more efficiently when more parts of it are operating at once. When the brain is sorting out a life issue, doing a physical activity will apply more of the brain to solving the problem.
If you are experiencing stress due to work, school, relationships or anything else, or if you are battling a mental disorder or addiction, go to a peaceful natural setting that you know of and try doing a physical exercise as well as a mental exercise you enjoy. You may be surprised at how therapeutic these activities can be.