When was the last time you played around in the dirt? Studies suggest there are benefits to both mental and physical health for those who spend time interacting with and enjoying nature. Why is this the case?
It is simple. Nature provides a calming and sensory-pleasing environment, one that promotes good health, healing, focus, activity, and even social interaction. There is something about taking a walk outside among beautiful trees or flowers that is much less torturous than walking endless miles on a treadmill. You can hear birds singing, smell fresh flowers or herbs, and feel the warmth of the sun.
This multi-sensory benefit of nature is supported in the following statement by Lara S. Franco, Danielle F. Shanahan, and Richard A. Fuller in their 2017 article entitled “A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye”:
“We have outlined the evidence that viewing nature both in pictures and through windows can improve health and mood; sounds such as birdsong and nature sounds provide restoration and enhance effect; smells provide numerous physical and psychological benefits; taste affects emotion, and traditional, natural diets have health benefits; petting animals can be very therapeutic; phytoncides can have a positive effect on our immune system; negative air ions affect our physical and mental well-being; and microbiota in the gut and the brain influence each other.”
The earth provides such a naturally beautiful canvas for any activity. When it comes to treatment and recovery, spending time caring for the earth can be beneficial in many ways. First of all, you are caring for something other than yourself. This allows you to put effort and focus into something larger than just you. You are contributing to the greater good and making a difference with each seed you plant.
At Enlightened Solutions, clients are encouraged to participate in horticulture therapy at our Enlightened Farm. Caring for the earth through gardening or farming also encourages patience. This includes learning to have patience with yourself as you evolve and growing treatment and patience with the earth as it grows and develops as a result of your efforts.
There is also a direct resemblance between the work and regenerative process occurring within those in treatment and recovery and the regenerative process of nature. By working on improving the earth, you are simultaneously improving yourself through that experience.
Good nutrition is essential to recovery and overall health. By caring for the earth and maintaining a garden, you are able to produce and provide organic produce for the community. Through your efforts, you are enhancing not only your life but the lives of those around you. This can provide a sense of purpose, value, and integration into the community.
Horticulture therapy is an excellent experience for those in treatment and recovery from substance abuse. This involves interacting with nature in a variety of new and innovative ways to improve mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Benefits can include finding peace and calmness, building confidence, and becoming more environmentally involved and aware.
Gaining new skills and experience is an important part of the treatment process. For many, jobs have been short-lived or difficult to manage or enjoy during addiction. Leaving treatment feeling confident and capable of securing employment in recovery can be very empowering. Caring for the earth through programs such as Enlightened Solution’s Solid Roots allows you to develop skills transferable to a variety of jobs following treatment.
As mentioned, caring for the earth benefits the community in various ways. You are offering something beautiful to look at and enjoy and producing fresh and local produce for others so they can live healthier lives. Caring for a farm or garden is an excellent way to give back and serve your community.
Community engagement and collaboration are critical and can tremendously benefit those in treatment and recovery. Establishing a sense of belonging and communal effort toward a common goal can offer purpose and direction for those who may otherwise feel lost after battling addiction.
Facilities offering programs at sites such as the Enlightened Farm provide more than just an outdoorsy experience. Such programs provide an outlet for those in need of a break or an escape. They also provide an opportunity to learn new skills in farming, gardening, and horticulture, offering a chance to engage and fellowship as a community coming together for the community’s common good. Lastly, such programs provide healing for those who choose to get involved.
Caring for the earth can provide many benefits to those in treatment and recovery. Gardening and horticulture offer opportunities to really enjoy and appreciate nature, while working on improving yourself and the earth. Enlightened Solutions has incorporated a variety of programs and activities held at Enlightened Farm into our programming. We recognize the value in caring for the earth and the correlation between the regenerative process you undergo during treatment and recovery and the similar process occurring in nature. Opportunities to build new skills, increase confidence, collaborate with peers and community members, and discover new interests are provided at the farm. Let us help you get the most out of your treatment experience and leave feeling enlightened about who you can become as a result of your sobriety. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.
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