Almost every aspect of treatment, from clinical therapy to holistic healing, is designed for two primary purposes: relapse prevention and making meaning. Nature therapy is important for enhancing the treatment experience. While reducing depression and increasing a commitment to treatment, nature based therapy of all kinds- from natural surroundings to nature excursions- help those in recovery find a purpose in their treatment. Making time for nature, bringing nature into a home living environment, stepping out into the sunshine for awhile every day- these are all important life skills for relapse prevention in recovery.
Mindful reports on a new study by Central Michigan University which surveyed workers about how much nature is present in their working environment. Views, windows, plants, art, computer screensavers were taken into consideration in addition to amounts of sunlight, both direct and indirect. Workers were also surveyed about their experiences with depression, anxiety, and work related issues. “Analyzing the data, the researchers found that people with more exposure to natural elements in the office were less depressed, and more satisfied with and committed to their jobs, than those with less nature around them,” the article cites. Exposure to natural elements fell short compared to workers who had sunlight exposure during the course of their work day. Direct sunlight, meaning going outside and feeling the heat of the sun on the skin, increased satisfaction and loyalty for work. Indirect sunlight, as in through a window in an office, did show a reduction in symptoms of depression but was not as significant as the effect of direct sunlight. Better mood, high levels of satisfaction, and a commitment to their employer were all experiences of workers regularly exposed to natural elements.
Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in addition to co-occurring mental health disorders can feel like work. Each day is dictated by a full schedule of therapy, activity, doctors, and appointments. For about 8 hours a day or less, treatment requires many of the same focus and energy that work does. Without satisfaction in treatment it is hard to want to stay committed to treatment. Commitment to treatment is essential for preventing relapse and making the most out of treatment. Reduced symptoms of depression make it easier to focus, participate, and enjoy the various activities of treatment.
Located in the beautiful coastal mountain sides of Southern California, LEAD Recovery Center helps clients learn to make the most out of treatment and their new lives in recovery. From forest to desert, sea to lake, our weekends are filled with nature based adventure therapy. Our multiphase transitional care programs have a simple goal: to bring clients to full autonomy. For information, call us today at 800-380-0012.