Nurtured By Nature: Nature In Addiction Recovery

Nature plays an important role in our mental and emotional well-being. No one can really say why nature has such a soothing effect on us, but perhaps the mere act of removing ourselves from cellphones, computers and televisions gives us a chance to reset.  From promoting relaxation to encouraging exercise, time spent outdoors is always time spent well. Suffice to say, nature can be a great resource for those in recovery. 

Nature and Exercise :

Nature plays an important role in our mental and emotional well-being. No one can really say why nature has such a soothing effect on us, but perhaps the mere act of removing ourselves from cellphones, computers and televisions gives us a chance to reset.  From promoting relaxation to encouraging exercise, time spent outdoors is always time spent well. 

Suffice to say, nature can be a great resource for those in recovery. 

Nature and Exercise

The most obvious way in which nature can help in addiction recovery is through the physical benefits of exercise. The brain’s reward centers are activated by a myriad of behaviors, including eating, sex, and even shopping. Addictions exploit the reward pathways in your brain. Exercise triggers the release of neurotransmitters (like serotonin and dopamine) that make you feel good. In fact, it causes the same positive changes in your brain as addictive drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Therefore, exercise is a healthy way to activate your brain’s reward systems. It’s a substance-free way to change your mood and cope with stress.

Social Aspects

Outside activities also have a social aspect to them. Organisations such as rambling, walking and hiking clubs can be a good way to meet new people. Being in nature is a way to form connections with people focused on a healthy lifestyle – a key component in recovery.

Stress Management and Mood

When we are surrounded by nature, our bodies process stress differently. Growing evidence suggests that nature promotes calmness, and studies have shown that even the view of a natural environment versus an urban one has an effect on anxiety, cognition, improved mood and pro-social behaviour. It has been proven that even the sounds of nature, such as birds and crickets, can improve cognitive performance.

Nature and The Immune System

Substance use disorders can take a toll on the body, and the immune system is often weakened during addiction. Aside from the benefits of improved Vitamin D through sunlight, nature helps strengthen our immune system. Research has found that spending time in outdoors provides protection against a host of diseases including, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more. University of Illinois environment and behaviour researcher Ming Kuo explained to Science Daily: “Exposure to nature switches the body into “rest and digest” mode, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” mode. When the body is in “fight or flight” mode, it shuts down everything that is immediately nonessential, including the immune system.”

Recovery852 believes in doing things differently. Therapy does not have to be in the confines of an office or online. We believe that nature plays an integral part in the healing; thus, we utilize Hong Kong’s beautiful beaches and country parks. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or other mental health issues like anxiety and depression, contact us today.

  1. Self-Reflection and Acceptance:

    • Begin by introspecting your current situation and accepting it. Acknowledge the need for recovery and embrace a positive mindset.
  2. Set Clear and Attainable Goals:

    • Define specific, measurable, and realistic goals. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps to make the recovery journey more achievable.
  3. Seek Professional Guidance:

    • Consult with professionals relevant to your situation, such as doctors, therapists, or counselors. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your needs.
  4. Build a Support System:

    • Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or join support groups. Having a strong support system can offer encouragement, understanding, and practical assistance during challenging times.
  5. Develop Healthy Habits:

    • Focus on establishing and maintaining healthy habits, including proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being often plays a crucial role in overall recovery.
  6. Address Underlying Issues:

    • Identify and address any underlying issues contributing to the need for recovery. This may involve exploring the root causes of challenges and working on solutions.
  7. Educate Yourself:

    • Gain knowledge about your specific situation and recovery process. Understanding the factors involved can empower you to make informed decisions and actively participate in your own recovery.
  8. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care:

    • Incorporate mindfulness techniques and self-care practices into your routine. These can help manage stress, promote emotional well-being, and contribute to a more balanced life.
  9. Take Gradual Steps:

    • Recognize that recovery is often a gradual process. Celebrate small victories and progress, and be patient with yourself during setbacks.
  10. Adaptability and Flexibility:

    • Stay open to adjusting your approach as needed. Recovery is dynamic, and being flexible in your strategies can help you navigate unexpected challenges.
  11. Persistence and Resilience:

    • Approach recovery with persistence and resilience. Stay committed to your goals, learn from setbacks, and view challenges as opportunities for personal growth.
  12. Celebrate Successes:

    • Acknowledge and celebrate milestones in your recovery journey. Recognizing and appreciating your achievements reinforces positive behavior and motivates continued progress.