Valiant Living Blog

The Value of Nature as a Means to Cope

Written by Valiant Living Recovery on Monday, May 17th, 2021

Nature helps so many overcome their life stressors. It serves as a means for so many to cope. When someone is ill, several studies have proven that looking out at nature or a painting of greenery can have a significant impact on improving their health outcomes. You can use nature as a means to cope by 1) taking a breath of fresh air, 2) doing more outdoor work, or 3) engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, or biking. The sounds, scents, and sensations associated with the outdoors bring us closer to ourselves and make meaning out of our existence. All of these experiences will help you benefit from the calming effects of nature.

Taking a Breath of Fresh Air

Especially now, given the COVID-19 pandemic, it is so important to breathe in fresh air without worrying about the transmission of the virus. The trees outside are generating the oxygen you need to breathe, not to mention the stress-reducing qualities of nature. Taking in that scent and lifeline can make all the difference. If you feel comfortable, even getting in a little skipping can boost your energy. You might feel silly at first, but eventually, you will realize hidden energy stores that needed to be tapped into are lurking there. You can practice different breathing techniques outside. Place your hands on your belly so you can feel the swell as you exhale after a deep breath inwards. Move your position to try out different ways to connect with your body.

Doing Outdoor Work

Sometimes getting your hands dirty in your yard is exactly what you need. Whether it is mowing your lawn or planting something new, that aspect of nature brings you back to your childhood. Engaging with the Earth in that way can help ground you. Don’t be afraid to get dirt underneath your fingernails or go barefoot. You run the risk of getting a splinter or small cut — but could that be worth it? We seldom get the opportunity not to care what we look like and feel the sensation of a little bit of Mother Nature on our bodies. Doing outdoor work is a great way to blow off steam. Consider your unique interest in the outdoors and apply that directly to your life.

Engage Outdoor Activities

You can go for a hike. Pack some snacks, trail mix, or granola bars, and a bottle of water. Go off the beaten path and take in the scenery you don’t normally get to experience. Navigating the varied terrain will help you get the exercise that also clears your mental headspace. As you go up an incline, you may notice that you start breathing heavier. That shows your body is putting in the physical effort. As you go down a hill, you may feel the exhilaration as you can ease up on your physical exertion. This experience is somewhat of a metaphor for life. It will have ups and downs, and you just have to take it all in.

You can go fishing. Get your supplies ready and head out to a lake or another body of water to catch and release fish. The waiting game helps you process, and then once you feel that tug – you know it’s your time to shine. Even if you do not get the first bite, there will always be another opportunity. Fishing allows you to relax and take in all the beauty underneath the surface.

You can go biking or roller-blading. If you want to pick up some speed, you can go for a bike ride or bring out the rollerblades. Find a park near you where you can get on some trails without worrying about cars. The air streaming across your face will make you feel light and swift. Manage your gears to control the level of difficulty you want at that moment. These outdoor activities can be very grounding. They can help you process or simply take your mind off things.

If you have any children you can play with outside, be sure to enjoy that opportunity. They will help bring you back to a place of playfulness and joy, and it is good for them, as well. They are a constant reminder of days past and boundless energy. Find your youthful spirit and just embrace the current moment.

Nature presents a perfect sanctuary for coping with your life stressors. Outdoors, you can 1) take a breath of fresh air, 2) pursue some yard work, or 3) try new activities like hiking, fishing, or biking. Consider what makes you feel restored and engage that experience. You are the expert for the healing your body needs. Nature, in particular, heals the soul. At Valiant Living, we know the importance of the outdoors. At our men’s only facility in Denver, Colorado, we offer both inpatient and outpatient services. Our location boasts terrific outdoor scenery and options for outdoor activities. Especially when healing from substance use disorder or co-occurring mental illness, getting in touch with nature is a key ingredient for recovery. Our expert staff knows this and engages in mindfulness activities in an outdoor setting. Our rooms are equipped with windows that look out onto trees. You can take your mind off your addiction and focus on your recovery. We prioritize your healing in nature. To learn more about our services, you can reach us today at (303) 952-5035.