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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Guiles

The Benefits of Outdoor Therapy for Overcoming Addiction

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


The Benefits of Outdoor Therapy for Overcoming Addiction

For many people struggling with addiction, traditional therapy sessions may not be enough to help them achieve lasting recovery. That's why more and more addiction treatment centers are turning to “green therapy” as a complementary treatment option. Outdoor or wilderness therapy involves spending time in nature and participating in outdoor activities to promote healing and growth.


Nature-based therapy has gained popularity in helping people overcome addiction in recent years and for good reason. Spending time in nature can have numerous physical and psychological benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety to improving mood and cognitive function.


This blog will explore the benefits of outdoor therapy for addiction recovery, covering developments in self-awareness, coping skills, and a deeper connection to nature.

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, spending time in nature can lower the stress hormone cortisol and boost well-being. Many recreational activities can be particularly effective in reducing stress and anxiety for people in recovery. Some examples include hiking, gardening, and meditation in nature. These can provide a sense of calm and relaxation while promoting physical activity and mindfulness.


2. Boosts Mood and Self-Esteem

Spending time in green spaces like parks and forests can increase happiness and well-being. Furthermore, exposure to nature has been linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety. Nature-based activities such as fishing and gardening are particularly effective in boosting mood and self-esteem. They provide a sense of accomplishment and allow individuals to connect with nature, which can improve their overall sense of well-being.


3. Fosters a Sense of Community and Support

Having a sense of community and support in addiction recovery is essential, and ecotherapy can help with that. It can improve social functioning and interpersonal skills, increasing confidence and self-esteem.


Activities like trekking and team-building exercises promote a sense of community and support. For instance, group hikes can allow individuals to bond with others in recovery and form a supportive community. Moreover, adventure-based activities such as ropes courses, ziplining, and rock climbing can encourage teamwork, communication, and mutual support.


4. Promotes Physical Health and Wellness

Outdoor therapy can help reduce chronic pain symptoms, improve cardiovascular health, and increase energy levels. Further, recreational activities can promote healthy habits and lifestyle changes, supporting long-term recovery.


Regular physical activity helps individuals develop a routine and build self-discipline and valuable skills in maintaining sobriety. Nature-based activities also provide a healthy distraction from addiction triggers and promote new, positive coping mechanisms.


Swimming, yoga, and outdoor team sports are practical outdoor activities promoting physical health and wellness in addiction recovery. These can be adapted to meet individual needs and preferences, making them accessible to various individuals in recovery.


5. Provides a Sense of Purpose and Meaning

Outdoor activities can help individuals feel more grounded and connected to their surroundings, leading to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life. Additionally, exposure to nature can improve mood, decrease stress levels, and increase feelings of social connectedness — contributing to a greater sense of purpose and meaning.


Adults who spent time in nature and green spaces are reported with higher levels of life satisfaction than those who spent less. Furthermore, engaging in outdoor activities can increase feelings of autonomy and competence, which can help individuals in recovery feel more confident and empowered.

Get Personalized Support for Addiction Recovery With The Detox and Treatment Helpline

At The Detox and Treatment Helpline, we understand that addiction is complex and requires personalized treatment approaches. That's why we offer a variety of programs that prioritize recovery and cater to your unique needs.


Don't let addiction control your life any longer. Contact us at 800-586-8085 to start your journey toward lasting sobriety and learn more about addiction treatment options, including the benefits of outdoor therapy. Let us provide the personalized support and guidance you need to overcome addiction and develop new coping skills for long-term healing!


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