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Tips for Including Outdoor Recreational Experiences in Your Recovery

When you think of addiction recovery, what comes to your mind? Like many others, you may think of the stereotypical group circles, discussing your substance use experience with a therapist and other peers in recovery. While psychoeducation groups and support groups are certainly invaluable assets for recovery, they are not the only notable assets. Research has confirmed the incredible benefits of nature for addiction recovery, more specifically, outdoor recreational experiences. Discussing the value of outdoor recreational experiences for your sobriety and knowing how to incorporate them into your recovery routine is paramount for whole-person healing. 

The Value of Nature for Health and Wellness

Understanding the general health benefits of nature can be especially helpful for recognizing the benefits of nature for addiction recovery. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, there is “evidence for associations between nature exposure and improved cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, physical activity, and sleep,” among many other health benefits. By simply exposing yourself to nature, you can feel better both physically and emotionally. This is because nature naturally generates positive emotions, including:

  • Calmness
  • Joy
  • Creativity
  • Gratitude
  • Well-Being

Moreover, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exposure to nature also encourages a healthy lifestyle, which can bolster your physical health and wellness. Natural environments tend to provide more enticing spaces for physical activity, which can motivate you to exercise. Additionally, feeling the sun on your skin or the wind on your face can be relaxing in and of itself, facilitating stress reduction and a host of positive emotions. 

The Specific Benefits of Nature for Addiction Recovery

As nature is notably valuable for health and wellness, it is especially valuable for addiction recovery. Addiction is not only a brain disease but a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. Meanwhile, nature is one of the most valuable resources that can help reestablish whole-person balance and healing. 

Reduces Stress, as Well as Triggers and Cravings

More specifically, in early recovery, substance use triggers and cravings can seem unmanageable. These challenges occur as the brain attempts to acclimate to sobriety after relying on recurrent substance use to function for so long. Learning how to properly manage stress, triggers, and cravings is a necessary facet of sustained recovery. Fortunately, engaging in nature and associated “green spaces” have been shown to directly reduce cortisol, your body’s stress hormone. As stress reduces, your triggers and cravings will become more manageable. 

Fosters Mindfulness

Another benefit of nature for addiction recovery is that it fosters mindfulness, which is crucial for lasting sobriety. Mindfulness is the experience of being fully aware of and involved with the present moment without judgment. Practicing mindfulness throughout your recovery allows you to focus on your goals, motivations, and successes clearly and effectively. It also allows you to become aware of maladaptive thoughts and behavior patterns before such patterns interfere with your recovery journey. 

Mindfulness encourages a healthy relationship between nature connectedness and overall well-being. If you feel a stronger connection to nature, you are more likely to spend more time in nature. As a result, you are able to reap the plethora of benefits that result from being exposed to or engaging with nature. 

Incorporating Outdoor Recreational Experiences Into Your Sobriety

If you are dedicated to your sobriety, then incorporating outdoor recreational experiences will only be paramount for your healing and recovery. Outdoor recreation involves anything from hiking to mountain climbing – anything that encourages you to get outdoors and engage with nature. 

Participating in at least one outdoor recreational experience a day can encourage you to set aside dedicated time for mindfulness and nature exposure. Some examples of valuable outdoor recreational experiences to consider adding to your recovery routine include:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Rafting
  • Sailing
  • Motorboating
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Surfing
  • Dog walking
  • Farming
  • Swimming
  • Meditating 

Outdoor Recreational Experiences at Malibu Wellness Ranch

No matter where you are on your healing journey, Malibu Wellness Ranch is dedicated to furthering your sobriety and recovery. We are an addiction and substance use treatment facility offering an abundance of experiential approaches and opportunities for healing and wellness. Moreover, a central aspect of our treatment programs and services is outdoor recreational experiences. 

At Malibu Wellness Ranch, we continue to watch the benefits of nature uniquely affect each person’s recovery journey. As for you, it may help to know that we create individualized treatment plans based on your unique goals for treatment and sobriety. Within your plan, we will incorporate individual and group services, life skills building, psychoeducation, physical wellness activities, and more. We also offer an equine recovery program which can be especially beneficial for lasting sobriety. 

In summary, incorporating various outdoor recreational experiences and activities can assist in physical and mental wellness and foster a better understanding of how to have fun in recovery.


The benefits of nature stretch far and wide, influencing mental and physical health and wellness in profound ways. In addiction recovery, engaging in outdoor recreational experiences can encourage you to connect with nature and, in turn, reap the benefits of nature for lasting sobriety. At Malibu Wellness Ranch, nature is central to our treatment programs and recovery services. We create individualized treatment plans for clients that incorporate various outdoor recreational experiences for whole-person healing of the mind, body, and spirit in tandem. Moreover, we offer an equine recovery program as another experiential treatment opportunity for addiction recovery. To learn more about our facility or programs, call us today at (800) 862-5428.