Experts believe that nature, and exposure to natural environments, can play a significant role in mental health. Our connection to the world around us can have a dramatic impact on our wellbeing. Those who get outside and interact with their surroundings have a chance to quiet their mind and focus.
In the field of addiction recovery, a significant emphasis is placed on serenity—the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Active addiction is the embodiment of internal and external chaos; so, preventing relapse can hinge on staying grounded. Those in early recovery learn techniques for living in the moment, or just for today. They learn that a person has little control over the future and that they cannot change the past.
One of the best things a person in recovery can do is practice mindfulness; the psychological process of focusing on the present moment as much as possible. People who begin their journey of healing in treatment are taught mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and prayer. Clients who utilize tools that help them stay in the “now” can adopt a program of recovery with greater ease, typically.
At Celebrate Hope, our clients benefit significantly from the environment of our campus. Aside from comfy living quarters that are conducive to personal reflection, clients are treated to ocean views and grounds that facilitate both social interaction and serenity. When clients feel at ease in their surroundings, they can focus their attention on the present moment and fully commit to their recovery.
Nature and Mental Health
We know that when people are in an environment that has a calming effect, it aids the recovery process. However, new research may lend some credence to the importance of serenity-inducing surrounds for people in recovery. A large study, conducted by researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, found that being raised near vegetation is associated with a lower risk of mental health disorders in adulthood, NPR reports. The research suggests that being exposed to “green spaces” might have significant physiological and psychological effects on human beings. The findings appear in the journal PNAS.
Interestingly, the scientists found that alcohol use disorder was most strongly associated with people who had a shortage of green space growing up, according to the article. The study shows that growing up near green space was associated with a 15 percent to 55 percent lower risk of developing psychiatric illness in adulthood. Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up next to a forest, but the researchers found that access to parks can have a similar effect.
“There are a lot of potential mechanisms to follow up on, but generally I think this study is tremendously important,” said Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond who studies the psychological effects of natural spaces. Lambert offers, “It suggests that something as simple as better city planning could have profound impacts on the mental health and well-being of all of us.”
Addiction Treatment Surrounded by Natural Beauty
We invite men and women considering addiction treatment to take a virtual tour of Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. We are confident you will see an environment that is conducive to your journey of healing. Please contact us to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment track.