There are numerous options that can help you with addiction recovery, including 12-Step meetings, counseling centers, or a religious institution. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong and the choice has to do with individual preference.
Did you know, however, that exercise and nature can help you with recovery? Here are the benefits of each and how they can assist in the recovery process.
Exercise Helps With Addiction Recovery
Exercise can help with addiction recovery in the following ways:
- Stress Relief. Exercise is a great stress reducer. Stress, if not contended with, could lead to relapse. Regular exercise such as brisk walking, bicycling, yoga, etc. can help reduce stress tension, helping you both emotionally and physically.
- Endorphin Surge. When you exercise, your body gets a boost of adrenaline and endorphins, which are the “feel good” chemicals. Regular exercise can help your moods to be more consistently positive.
- Clarity. Some say that exercise is like meditation in motion, giving you more peace and clarity. When you exercise, you tend to pay more attention to the here and now, which can help decrease bothersome or negative thoughts.
- Helps With Energy and Sleep. Regular exercise helps you sleep better and have more energy during the day.
Nature Helps With Addiction Recovery
There is a healing quality in nature that can certainly refresh and restore the mental, emotional, and physical body. In fact, research shows the following benefits to those living near nature.
- A University of Exeter Medical School study of 100,000 city dwellers found that people living near more green space reported less mental distress.
- A 2009 study by Dutch researchers discovered a lower incidence of disease, including diabetes, asthma, migraines, depression, anxiety, and heart disease, in people that lived within a mile of green space.
- In 2015, an international questionnaire with over 31,000 Toronto city residents as participants found that those living on blocks with more trees showed a boost in heart and metabolic health similar to what a person would experience from a $20,000 increase in income.
- Several studies show fewer stress hormones and lower mortality rates are also associated with living close to a green space.
Nature is especially beneficial to those in addiction recovery in the following ways:
- Renewal. You’ll feel renewed as you let the old things pass away and you begin a fresh start. Just like the sun rises each day, nature helps us remember that we can wake up every day with a fresh start as well, moving forward in grace and gratitude.
- It Nourishes The Soul. Many people entering recovery feel as if they are empty inside. They feel as if their soul is malnourished and their connection with a Higher Power is severed, but nature is a beautiful resource we can use to nourish the soul back to health. Nature can help revitalize the soul and bring back to life many dreams that perhaps you’ve put on the shelf and forgotten about. It can also bring you closer to your Higher Power and yourself.
- It’s a Great Place to Exercise. Many nature lovers enjoy getting in nature and exercising. Go ahead and begin hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking, mountain climbing, and running.
“Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost,” wrote a group of University of Michigan researchers. “[It’s called] interacting with nature.”
If you haven’t considered implementing exercise or nature into your recovery, take some time to try it. See what types of exercise benefit your mood and physical health. You may even want to journal about your experiences along the way. Your recovery is important and there are many ways in which exercise and nature can help.
Dominica Applegate is dedicated to the art of self-discovery and creative expression with a passion for creative art. She’s got a deep-rooted passion for helping others heal emotional pain and trauma, as her own journey through love addiction has served as a catalyst for her own healing and beautiful transformation. Find out more at www.dominicaapplegate.com.