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The Healing Power of the Outdoors

therapy group celebrates nature

Sian Lewis, in an article for Wellness Journal magazine, writes that the outdoors can be a healing place for one’s recovery. Getting out into the fresh air, doing some form of exercise, and sleeping in the sounds and smells of nature can be healing. This form of healing can be extremely beneficial as part of a program of recovery, both while in treatment and going forward. 

Welcoming Walks

“Take to the hills for a workout your mind and body will love,” says Lewis. He calls walking outdoors “calming” and “meditative,” saying that so much can be achieved by the “gentle repetition of movement, and a heart-lifting sense of achievement to be found in covering ground.” Walking in nature that is far removed from the daily chores of life gives you a new sense of freedom. “Like looking at a vast starry sky, there’s a lesson in perspective to be gained from taking paths trodden by centuries of feet, up mountains that are indifferent to the humans that come and go,” says Lewis. There is something about being in nature that helps you feel the right size in the world and gives you a fresh perspective alongside the fresh air. It helps us see how small some of our worries are and energy to face the larger ones. Challenge yourself to spend time in nature every day.

Wild About Water

“Refresh, recalibrate, re-energize — wild swimming is good for the soul,” says Lewis. There are pockets of time, he says, that we can take a break from and get outside to enjoy ourselves. Something we can do when we take this break, given the opportunity, is go swimming. This is not only great exercise, but it gives our minds a rest from looking at a screen or being worried about the tasks on our to-do list. Lewis describes wild swimming as “the most immersive escape of all — a dive into an alien, aquatic world before emerging, refreshed, to face real life once again.” You’ll feel connected to the natural world around you, Lewis says, once you dive in and swim on your own. 

The Ride to Happiness

“Longing to shake off the weight of the world?” questions Lewis. “Maybe it’s time to get on your bike,” he says. Lewis explains how it’s difficult to be in a state of melancholy when you are riding a bike. “After all, it’s hard to be in a fit of pique while you’re cycling along a country lane on a summer day, the wind in your hair and the pedals turning.” Studies have also shown, he says, that riding a bike can increase the happy chemicals in your brain, leading you to feel more calm and peaceful. “And the focus required to cycle is a powerful antidote to sadness — you can’t dwell on things for long when there are horizons to reach and miles of countryside to traverse.” When you’ve got a pocket of time, hop on your bike and ride until your mind is content. 

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you during your recovery. We have a plethora of outdoor activities for you to engage in while you’re with us. Call today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you today.