The health benefits of getting outdoors have been well-documented for decades. Even just spending 20 minutes a day outside can help improve your immediate mental health. Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D — an essential nutrient for keeping bones, muscles, and teeth healthy and strong. Indoor air quality can contribute to chronic respiratory illnesses, so getting outside helps boost our immune system.
Spending time outdoors also has some other amazing mental health benefits, such as:
- Reducing stress
- Improving concentration
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing anxiety and depression symptoms
Anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms can take you out of the present moment and cause a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions. Therapy and medication are helpful tools for managing the root cause of anxiety and depression. However, meditation is an incredibly helpful resource for managing symptoms before they start.
Numerous studies have tested the effectiveness of using meditation and mindfulness to treat anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. Overwhelmingly the evidence indicates that regular meditation practices reduce anxiety and depression symptoms by:
- Helping you stay focused in the present moment
- Providing a new perspective on stressful situations
- Giving insight into triggers
- Teaching breath work that can have a calming effect
- Building stress-management skills
Yoga and meditation are both practices that help redirect the mind to the present moment. Practicing yoga tends to be more physical than a meditation practice, which is especially beneficial for people with anxiety and panic disorders, who may find sitting still uncomfortable. The focused deep breathing involved with yoga (and meditation) can be calming, reducing emotional responses to external triggers — even outside of practice.
Yoga has the added benefit of being a physical exercise, and almost all exercise produces endorphins and increases the brain’s oxygen supply. These effects help lower stress and make you feel better overall.
Acupuncture originated in China, and as a practice has been in use for millennia. In the last several decades it has been integrated into more Western medicine practices due to its efficacy in treating a host of physical and mental health disorders.
As a complementary treatment to other therapies, acupuncture has proven to be especially helpful in alleviating symptoms of certain mental health disorders, like depression. One of the primary benefits of acupuncture is its effect on areas of the brain known to react to stress and pain, by promoting a more relaxed and less reactive mind.
There is no doubt that chronic pain can contribute to increased depression and anxiety symptoms. Pain can make everything from getting a good night’s sleep to engaging in day-to-day life difficult, if not near impossible. Massage and chiropractic care work to help realign the body and manage chronic pain, which can go a long way to alleviating depression and anxiety symptoms. Other benefits of massage and chiropractic services include:
- Relief from migraine and chronic headaches
- Reduce muscle tension — often a physical side effect of anxiety
- Induce a more relaxed physical state
It takes a concerted effort for most people to give their bodies the food they need — especially when processed and pre-packaged foods are more convenient. Compounding that fact is that people struggling with the symptoms of mental health disorders may not have the emotional energy to be mindful of healthful eating. However, inadequate nutrition can actually make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.
Eating well doesn’t just make your body more healthy, but is actually beneficial for your overall mental health Learning about diets that support gut health, mental wellness, and mindful eating set the framework for continued physical and mental health during and after treatment.
Deep-seated hurt from your childhood or painful memories of events experienced when actively abusing drugs or alcohol can keep you continuing to use. Without addressing emotional distress, attempting to recover from drug or alcohol addiction can be nearly impossible. Holistic care helps address the imperative aspect of your life with practices such as meditation or yoga. These practices can help you manage your emotional distress in healthier ways, freeing you from turning to the use of drugs and alcohol to cope.
Physical pain is a common component of one’s desire to abuse drugs or alcohol, as dealing with it on a regular basis can be highly distressing. Drugs or alcohol can feel like a quick and easy way to manage the pain. But, when engaging in holistic care, you can learn about the benefits of massage therapy, reiki, and other body therapies that can address any pain you have so you do not feel the need to drink or use drugs.
For many people recovering from an addiction, their lives may feel boring. They may have difficulty finding out what their interests are or have a hard time transitioning into a sober lifestyle. Boredom is the enemy of recovery, which is why it is imperative to avoid regular boredom. One of the ways to do this is to utilize meditation to help calm your inner voice, allowing you to feel less compelled to use again.
Herbal therapies are highly effective in helping to restore balance to the body and the mind post-active addiction. These therapies can help you feel stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The goal of a holistic treatment program is to help you develop effective ways to manage your life post-addiction. With the implementation of these therapies, you can find success in recovery.