As is perhaps appropriate for a facility called Wooded Glen, our recovery center is located near Clark State Forest. Formed in 1903, Clark State Forest is the oldest state forest in Indiana. Today, the forest consists of nearly 24,000 acres and seven lakes. Summertime is a wonderful time to head out to the forest for some recreation and relaxation.
Clark State Forest and Your Recovery Journey
At this point, you may well be thinking, “Well, those are some interesting facts and figures about Clark State Forest, but why are they part of a recovery center’s blog?”
That is a reasonable question—and one we are happy to answer. The fact is, thinking about Clark State Forest gives us an opportunity to think about three topics that are important to your recovery journey.
1. The Power of the Natural World in Recovery
Getting out into nature is an excellent way to support your mental health. Spending time outdoors helps interrupt the habit of rumination—the tendency to constantly focus on negative memories, emotions, and thoughts. Rumination often increases feelings of depression, social isolation, and anxiety. Spending time surrounded by the beauty of a place like Clark State Forest can help you nip the cycle of rumination in the bud as you enjoy the budding life all around you.
This calming of the mind is often accompanied by a reduction in overall stress levels. Every so often, that calmness can become what is known as a peak experience, during which you enjoy particularly intense feelings of connectedness and wellbeing.
Being outdoors also gives you access to the sun’s constant delivery of vitamin D, which has been shown to lessen the symptoms of depression. People who spend quite a bit of time exploring the natural world often have stronger immune systems and sleep better as well.
So whether you have a peak experience or just enjoy the sunshine, your time spent outdoors provides a boost to mental health. That boost can help you maintain your sobriety.
2. The Power of Exercise in Recovery
Visiting a place like Clark State Forest can ease your stress even if you just sit on a blanket by one of the pretty lakes and watch the clouds rolling by. But there are plenty of ways to get some exercise in the state forest, too. That exercise can offer significant support to your recovery efforts.
Clark State Forest boasts three hiking trails, including two that are internal to the forest and a portion of the 59-mile Knobstone Trail. You can also find five miles of mountain bike trails as well as 100 miles of horse riding trails ranging from the easy to the rugged.
Any and all of those forms of exercise will be good for your physical health, but they are also good for your mental health. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain—all of which support mental health. Exercise makes us feel good physically and mentally, which in turn reduces cravings for drugs and alcohol.
3. The Power of a Good Metaphor in Recovery
The natural world—especially a forest like Clark State Forest—is an ongoing example of growth, renewal, and interconnectedness. When it was created in 1903, Clark State Forest included just 2,028 acres; it is now more than 10 times that size. That gradual expansion into something even more impressive and beautiful is an excellent reminder of what is possible with patience and time.
The forest is also the site of ongoing renewal. The seasons come and go. Trees are harvested for timber. Fishing and hunting are available for enthusiasts. Through it all, new life springs up and renews that which has fallen away over time. That renewal is possible on the recovery journey as well—perhaps most obviously when a relapse upends our progress and requires us to start again. But a sense of renewal is also available every time we repair a broken relationship, perform an act of service, or try something new that takes us out of our comfort zone but supports our recovery.
And finally, a complex ecosystem like Clark State Forest can remind us of the importance of interconnectedness. The plants and animals in the forest rely on one another to create an environment that is healthy for all of them. Similarly, a person in recovery needs a strong support system—and needs to take responsibility for their part in the complicated web of relationships that makes up our lives.
Take Full Advantage of This Area’s Array of Resources
Clark State Forest is a wonderful resource for everyone who lives in the area, and we encourage you to take advantage of all it has to offer—and to keep in mind the ways in which time spent there can support your recovery. Wooded Glen Recovery Center is also an exceptional resource if you or a loved one needs treatment for a substance use disorder. We offer personalized treatment that grows from the fertile soil of our expertise and compassion. If a substance use disorder is making it impossible for you to see the forest for the trees, we are here to help.