Mental disorders are a hardship that no one should have to deal with, but the sad truth is that every third person deals with them in North America. Mental disorders are a reality we live with in modern times, but this does not mean that anyone should accept them without a fight, especially when some of the best known remedies for mental disorders are literally right outside our doors. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce symptoms of mental disorders and rewire our brains to function in a healthier fashion.
Mental disorders occur when certain environmental, behavioral, psychological and emotional factors influence a person’s thought patterns and brain chemistry toward unhealthy tendencies. Mental disorders are deeply entrenching and become a person’s normal way of thinking when they are not dealt with properly. Some can become so severe that the invidual afflicted by them may want to kill themselves or self medicate by abusing substances. Several commonly known mental disorders are depression, anxiety, ADHD and addiction.
The reason that spending time in nature can be so beneficial to someone with a mental disorder is that nature has been proven to change the brain’s mental and chemical patterns without the use of prescription drugs or behavioral therapy. There is a very strong connection between people and nature, and when people immerse themselves in nature, it has the effect of restoring them to their natural state, one where their disorder does not exist. In the case of mental disorder, therapy is always recommended and sometimes prescription medications are necessary, but do not underestimate the power of nature have restorative properties that even counseling does not possess.
Antidepressants, rehab and self-help books play an important part in recovering from addiction, but before those things existed, there was another way of finding therapy for addiction: nature. Spending time in the natural world is the oldest and most effective way of remedying addiction and mental disorders. By harnessing the therapeutic elements of nature, in a spiritual, psychological and chemical sense, one can find their center and repair parts of themselves that were lost.
Addiction and mental disorders are devastating illnesses. When untreated, they can greatly reduce a person’s health and quality of life. There is a variety of treatments a person can choose from, ranging from counseling to inpatient rehabilitation to self-help literature. However, none have proven as effective as natural remedies, in particular, surrounding one’s self by nature in meditation until priorities are correctly realigned.
There are a number of ways a person can use nature to heal brokenness. Simply retreating into a wilderness area to take in the stillness, meditate and lower stress is enormously beneficial. Some people prefer more of a physical challenge, such as mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and the likes in order to recenter themselves. Camping for a week will realign a person’s sleep schedule if it has been thrown off. Using the natural world as food and medicine is also an effective way of healing addiction and mental disorders. By making use of the remedies, vitamins and nutrients in nature, one can fight disease, mental illness, negative emotions and addictive behaviors.
The modern world can be mentally and emotionally taxing, and there are many forms of therapy and treatment one can seek. We become more and more away everyday of how beneficial it is to be in tune with the natural world, and being in recovery from addiction and mental disorder is no exception. Nature has the ability to detoxify the body, mind and soul to restore a person to their original health. If someone is physically dependent on a substance, they require a medically supervised detox, like that at an Alberta alcohol detoxification center, but for more mild instances of substance use, turn to the healing, holistic elements of nature.
Nature has been proven to have a therapeutic effect on people, giving them clarity and making them feel refreshed. Therefore, it is no surprise that nature recreation therapy is highly recommended to people struggling with addiction. In fact, most rehabilitation facilities and addiction treatment centers include some form of nature therapy in their treatment program, usually in the form of outdoor recreation. This is because nature is so effective at realigning mental health in people that it is commonly referred to as the best kind of free therapy.
Nature has rejuvenating qualities that other forms of therapy cannot offer. Most people come away from nature feeling that their mental facilities have been reset and are starting afresh. For people struggling with addiction, this quality is largely beneficial. Addiction is a mental state that people get stuck in, but it is no one’s natural mental state. Spending some time in nature reminds addicts of this and makes them feel closer to a time when they were not addicted, inspiring them to return to that state.
Self reflection naturally occurs within nature, as there is an abundance of silence and freedom within nature. Spending time in it gives a person the resources they need to introspect and become meditative. This is largely important to a person struggling with addiction because reflection on personal choices is essential to recovery from addiction. The cognitive behavioral therapy that addiction treatment uses calls upon exactly this type of introspection in order to get the addict to think critically about their choices and reconsider them.
Nature’s pure tranquility is the all-encompassing reason it is so effective at easing addiction. The smell of growing vegetation invigorates our minds, the sounds of wind in the trees and water in the streams is music to our souls and the complex array of designs and colors that nature demonstrates leaves us in awe.
One of the many negative experiences in life that people turn to nature for help with is addiction. We know so much more about addiction than we used to; that addiction is a real disease, that it has a lot to do with brain chemistry and that addicts need devoted support in order to recover. Addiction is a difficult, painful condition in a number of ways.
People who struggle with addiction describe it as feeling trapped, and feeling forced to serve their addiction. Addiction is a prison of the mind in which one is convinced they cannot survive without a particular substance or practice. Addicts describe this as exhausting, and that they would give anything to live free from their addiction.
Feelings of hopelessness are another common symptom of addiction. Some addicts truly believe that they will never be free of their addiction, many to the point of even predicting that their addiction will be the cause of their death. This kind of addict feels beaten by their addiction, and has given in to the heavy depression that accompanies their defeat.
Stigmas are a serious problem for addicts. Being stigmatized by friends, family, acquaintences or society at large is a very damaging feeling for an addict. Instead of the support that an addict needs in order to heal, they are often met by harsh opinions and judgments in the people they turn to, causing them to lose hope for a better life.
Feelings of abandonment frequently set in for addicts as well. It is all too common for an addict’s friends or family to disassociate from them, claiming that they are not really sick but rather just have flawed character. This is a real tragedy of addiction and a very misguided approach to it. There is nothing an addict needs more than their support system to help them overcome their condition and start fresh.
For centuries, mankind has turned to nature to heal from mental and physical hardships. We are all aware that remedies for physical diseases are found in nature, but as for mental, emotional and psychological healing, the help that nature supplies is much more mysterious. Some call it biological evolution, some call it divine purpose and some call it incidental, but whatever the reason, it is certain that experiencing nature does people a lot of good. The sensory experience of nature stirs feelings within us that no other experience can provide, and puts us in connection with the elemental things we require in order to feel a sense of oneness.
The beauty of nature is one of the obvious reasons it serves as therapy for us. Merely taking in the breathtaking scenery, aesthetics and landscape are enormously good for the soul. Many people choose to do this by taking up some form of outdoor recreation or hobby, either physical or artistic. Nature was home to people long before the invention of track homes and apartment buildings, and the priviledge of interacting with this natural setting is one of the ways mankind has come to feel whole.
Nature has an abundance of clean air and water, and the absence of toxicity is particularly appealing to our senses and our psyches. Clean, natural elements are what we long to be around because they ensure our health and a high quality of life. The way these pure elements make us feel is largely therapeutic and good for people to immerse themselves in.
And lastly, the presence of wide open spaces is very good for people to take in. With wide open space comes silence, solitude and privacy; all things that people need to a certain degree, and all things that are associated with centering one’s self. With more space surrounding you, you are free to open up your mind, body and heart to express yourself.