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Imagine you’re walking through a path in the woods, surrounded by tall trees full of leaves. The birds are chirping, and a river is flowing. There are no other sounds or sights but nature. And you feel the calmest you have in a long while.

Our surroundings can drastically affect how we think and feel. As humans, we are naturally drawn to the therapeutic benefits of nature – and for good reason. Did you know that nature can have a profound impact on your mental health?

How Nature Can Help with Addiction Recovery

Nature has a natural calming effect on the mind, bringing us peace and tranquility. Spending time in a quiet, open space can help relax and recharge your brain. It is one of many reasons we are all trying to spend some intentional time outside during the COVID-19 quarantine. Now more than ever, people stuck at home are making more time to go for walks, runs, or just hang out in the yard (while social distancing, of course).

At the New England Recovery Center, we wanted to bring a serene space to our clients undergoing inpatient treatment for addiction recovery. Our Healing Garden, which officially opened in in 2018, helps foster healing and recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions and decreasing stressful thoughts.

Nature as Therapy

Using nature as a form of therapy has continued to gain attention over the years. Scientists, researchers and therapists agree that reconnecting with nature and incorporating mindfulness techniques and exercise can have profound effects on depression.

Being exposed to natural light has also been beneficial to improving sleep patterns. When we lack good sleep, our bodies react with mood swings which can sway our decision-making. Additionally, getting enough sleep can help with feelings of anxiety.

Our Healing Garden allows clients to focus on the mind and soul, avoid negative distractions and build new connections with their recovery peers. Clients can experience improved moods, decreased stress and anxiety, and improved well-being and self-esteem within our private garden oasis.

There is a reason wilderness retreats are so popular and why urban families escape the city for quiet campgrounds and forest cabins. We are better able to gain perspective and recognize that the stresses of everyday life are temporary, but nature is forever. People in recovery from addiction may have a long road ahead but being able to visit their favorite spots in nature can bring a sense of calm not found anywhere else. We retreat, regroup and return to life ready to face anything with a strong mind.

The next time you feel anxious, stressed out, or just need some time to yourself, consider going for a walk, run or hike outdoors. Turn your cell phone off, clear your minds and listen to the sounds around you. You may find yourself returning home refreshed and reenergized, ready to take on the challenges of the day with a clear head and an open mind.

The New England Recovery Center is open and accepting new clients during COVID-19. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction during this time, please call ahead at 1-877-MyRehab and start your recovery journey today.

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