Spending time in nature is like spending time in our own, truest inner nature. Shepherding our physical bodies into the safe space of a pretty wilderness, park, or garden, refreshes what is green and full of breath within our own selves.
Being Outside Helps Mind, Body, and Soul
Researchers documenting the effect of the great outdoors on human beings have gathered sizable evidence suggesting that nature time is as healthy as can be. As this study unveils, (https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/3/1380), bathing ourselves in a wild space’s aura permeates us with good.
The benefits to the physical body are multiple, including immune system enhancement, reduction of inflammation, and restoration of sleep. The soul benefits equally from time in nature, with the elevation of mood, protection against stress, and self-esteem as the top boons to our psychology.
According to some studies (https://emilkirkegaard.dk//en/wp-content/uploads/The-Cognitive-Benefits-of-Interacting-With-Nature.pdf ), even our minds function more effectively with a little support from Mother Earth. Better concentration, memory, and attention can come our way just by going outdoors.
Being Outside Helps With Trauma and Addiction
Women recovering from addiction or chronic traumatization should be aware of the positive outcomes linked to green time. This study documents a connection between time in the great outdoors and the reduction of PTSD symptoms: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33899932/
All in all, for those of us on a path of recovery from substance use, nature is a real resource. Here are 6 recovery-specific gifts we get when we develop a relationship with Mother Nature.
6 Benefits of Being Outside (for People in Recovery!)
1. Nature helps us Process
Have you ever noticed that when you go for a walk someplace green, your mind begins to pleasantly wander as if taking a walk of its own? We may find ourselves chewing on things, reviewing events that happened to us throughout the day, and considering and reflecting.
This is because being outside helps support the body to shift into the state of processing, a bit like REM, a neurological necessity that helps us break down and let go of what is no longer needed.
For people with trauma who are now safer, there will be many pieces of mobilization (also known as activation, or fight-flight overstimulation) that can now be released because it is safe to do so.
Nature is a peaceful, pleasurable context for releasing baggage, for unburdening ourselves of all we don’t need to carry anymore.
2. Nature is Relaxing
When we go into a natural setting, the body responds at a subconscious level to the environment and begins to relax. Nature is known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our body’s wiring which enables us to rest and digest, release and integrate.
Just bathing in nature’s vibes, we let go of excess stressors, tensions, and used up energies that are so uncomfortable to hold onto in the body. For those of us with a tendency to get rattled and riled, nature soothes our nerves and softens us back to safety.
3. Nature stimulates our Inner Pharmaceuticals
The neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for creating states of deep peace, emotional connection, love, and well-being respond to the signals of nature. The beauty, harmony and cohesion of nature and its geological, plant and animal kingdoms tease us into positive feeling states, improving our moods, our feelings of connection, and meaning. Most people on the path to recovery know, we’ll take a natural high whenever we can!
4. Nature entrains our Brainwaves to Flow
Nature is its own biofeedback machine, providing resonances that entrain our brainwaves to the oh-so-satisfying flow state, where we are able to experience the alertness and wakefulness of our own deepest creativity, while also feeling balanced and at ease. If you want to get into the flow zone, then get into a green zone!
5. Nature gives us Perspective
When triggered, we get tunnel vision, and we can’t see the bigger picture. When we go into nature and allow the lens of our attention to gently dilate, we take in a bigger and more beautiful world. This perspective helps us make better decisions.
6. Nature leads us to Reverence
Still searching for that promised spiritual awakening, the one that powerfully replaces addiction’s hold on us? Being in nature famously leads to lasting reverence for the mysteries of creation, for what’s behind the events of our lives, and the challenges we endure. For a plunge into spirit, plunge into nature.