A Wilderness Therapy Program’s Affect On Teen Perspective and Well-being
When students arrive in wilderness therapy they begin a process of discovery about who they are and what they are capable of. Their bodies begin to align with the cycle of the sun leading to improved amounts and quality of sleep. They begin to eat better, adapting to foods that are nutrient dense and largely plant based. And they move…a lot. Whether it’s tossing a Frisbee in the field outside our main office at Trails or backpacking several miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains over the course of an expedition, it is impossible for students to ignore the positive effects of exercise.
Activity in Wilderness Therapy
Research shows mood-enhancement within five minutes of beginning activity. And over longer periods of time, consistent activity has been proven effective in reducing depression and anxiety. When you consider this along with the knowledge that if one member of a family is depressed or anxious it is likely others may be as well, you have the perfect argument for whole families to engage in activity.
It is easy to students and families to leave wilderness therapy and become distracted by the needs of the day with school, sports, or even a family therapy session squeezed in before dinner. Even with well constructed transition plans that support family activity, it may become lost in the fray. This is especially true when we approach busy fall and winter seasons with big holidays and breaks in routine. So, here, in celebration of beautiful fall weather and the impending holiday season are a few ideas for staying active as a family for better mood, communication, grades, and fitness.
- Sign up for a local race. This time of year there are tons of “turkey trots” and “resolution runs” to be enjoyed whether you walk or run.
- Step it up with a healthy competition. Pedometers are cheap and easy to come by. Whoever walks the most steps in a day is off the hook for dishes.
- Inspire each other from a distance by sharing discoveries from morning walks or athletic events in letters, phone calls, or texts.
- Challenge family members to fun, low key physical pursuits by organizing a group hike while together for holiday visits
What works for you and your family?
Trails Wilderness Therapy Program