The Health Benefits of Nature

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There are so many health benefits of nature that you might not fully recognize. These benefits can help you not only improve your mental health but assist you in your recovery journey. At Pathways Recovery Center, we encourage our clients to utilize holistic practices, including outdoor activities, to supplement their recovery journeys.

The Mental Health Benefits of Nature

Time spent in nature can work wonders for your mental health. The mental health benefits of nature include but are not limited to the following.

1. Rest and Rejuvenation for Your Mind

In daily life, there are distractions around us constantly. The internet, TV, appliances, street traffic, and even the people you live with can contribute to the mental and physical noise of your environment. This often starts from the moment your alarm goes off and continues for the rest of the day.

Even if you wanted to get away from the noise, it can be hard to do so. However, the longer this continues, the more unfocused you can become. With constant noise and constant distractions, it can be hard to think straight. Life can begin to feel very overwhelming, and you may even feel trapped.

But when you get out into nature, even if just for a little while, you finally get a much-needed break. Spending time immersed in nature can be like a vacation mentally and physically. It allows you to reconnect with yourself, find balance, and re-center. Your brain will have the chance to rest and reset.

Nature may not be silent, but its noises are often quieter and less distracting, like the chirping of birds or the rustling of the wind. This can provide you with the space you need to think clearly, process your emotions, and embrace mindfulness. With more time to think, you'll be better able to determine what life changes you need to make and why.

After spending time in nature, you'll likely feel rejuvenated and recharged. You'll be better able to handle whatever life has to throw at you once you return to your normal life. 

2. Reduced Stress Levels

One of the best things about spending time out in nature is that it helps reduce stress levels. Naturally, this follows from the restful and rejuvenating aspects of nature that were explored above.

As those who are in residential treatment or long-term recovery from addiction know, stress management is very crucial. You have to develop good coping mechanisms for stress that don't involve turning to substance use to cope.

If you feel like you're struggling to get your stress levels under control, get yourself out into nature. Pick an activity in nature that sounds fun and go do it! You will likely be surprised by how much better you feel.

The Physical Health Benefits of Nature

There are quite a few physical health benefits of nature as well.

1. Exercise

The most obvious one is exercise. Of course, not all activities in nature require exertion. Napping in a hammock, reading a book outside, or birdwatching are all activities that can be done when you don't have too much energy.

To get the benefits of exercise, vary your relaxing activities in nature with ones that get you moving. Whether you go on a grueling hike or simply take your dog for a quick walk, you're getting your blood pumping. That is so important for your overall health. This can help keep your weight under control, lower your blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and much more.

There are a lot of different ways to get exercise while out in nature. The key is to find out what works best for you and what you enjoy. Some people may enjoy spending time out on the water by kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming. Others may prefer doing things on land like biking or walking.

2. More Vitamin D

Another one of the health benefits of nature is that you get to spend time out in the sun. Through the sun, we get Vitamin D, which is crucial for our mental and physical health. More vitamin D may help prevent depression and improve the function of natural bodily processes.

It is very much possible to become Vitamin D deficient, particularly in the winter months when you might not be spending as much time outside. During this time, it is prudent to supplement using vitamins or eat foods enriched with Vitamin D. Our team at Pathways Recovery Center can help you to learn more about Vitamin D and your mental health.

Taking Advantage of the Health Benefits of Nature

There are so many different ways that you can go about enjoying the health benefits of nature. One way is by going outside and simply taking the time to be present and take in everything around you. Listen to the birds chirping. Feel the sensation of the sun on your skin. Try not to allow thoughts of to-do lists or daily responsibilities to cloud your mind but just focus on your surroundings.

Some people enjoy doing yoga or practicing some sort of meditation out in nature. If this is something that you're interested in, there are lots of free tutorials online that can explain how to get started. There are very few materials required, if you choose to use any at all. You may also consider taking a notebook with you so you can do some journaling while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Some other ways that you may consider enjoying the health benefits of nature include:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Having a picnic at the park
  • Gardening
  • Doing yardwork
  • Listening to a podcast while you walk

When you are in recovery, you know that making time for self-care is very important. What self-care looks like can be different from person to person. What works for you might not be as effective for the next person. But if you've not already incorporated spending time out in nature into your self-care, it is time to consider it. There are so many mental and physical health benefits of nature to be enjoyed. If you want help with your mental health or other recovery needs, our team at Pathways Recovery Center is here for you. Give us a call at (888) 771-0966 today to learn more about the different types of services that we provide. 

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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Pathways Recovery Center Believes That Anyone Suffering From Addiction Can Recover And Experience The Joy Of Life Again. Join Us In Fighting Addiction One Person At A Time.
Call: 1 (888) 711 0966

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