People have strong psychological connections to the places where they spend most of their time. Your homes, jobs, and houses of loved ones may usually come to mind first on your list.
When you spend so many hours somewhere, that place begins to hold the memories and emotions that took place there. A place can give you profoundly positive emotions and remind you of some of your best times, or it can give you emotions and memories that cause you pain. The question “Is being here helping me or hurting me?” may be valuable if you are making important changes in your life, especially if you are seeking treatment.
Locations and Habits
Habits can form in many ways within your mind, but one common theme is that a cue or trigger initiates the chain of behavior. For example, say you get something to eat from the same fast-food restaurant often. Even when you do not end up stopping there, the act of driving by the building makes you hungry. This happens because your mind took a cue from your environment, which can come through any of the five senses.
First comes the cue, then the behavior routine, and finally comes the reward which the mind was craving. When dealing with a primarily benign habit, this mechanism may not pose much trouble. However, when dealing with substance use disorder or trauma, this can be very challenging to break.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to habits is that your mental health and emotions can also play into habit formation. In a study on the comorbidity of substance use disorders and mood disorders, it was found that people with depression were twice as likely to be dependent on a substance. People with bipolar disorder were seven times as likely.
If mood disorder symptoms and your environment trigger substance use patterns, it may be a good idea to change your environment when seeking treatment.
Traveling to Seek Treatment
When searching for a place to find treatment, you may want to look for a distant facility. You may look in another state, or if you are feeling very adventurous and enjoy traveling, possibly another country. A new environment can be refreshing and have a lower risk of triggering trauma or unwanted psychological patterns.
Even if you are only traveling an hour away, just getting out of your town can have a significant impact on your mind. A good thing to keep in mind is to look for a place with an environment that would be soothing to you. For example, if you enjoy the beach, try to find a facility near the ocean.
However, leaving home is not without its challenges. It can be scary to go to a new place, especially when seeking treatment for the first time. Even though it is beneficial to have a change of scenery, do not push yourself too far out of your comfort zone to the point of feeling overwhelmed. You can look for a place close enough to home where you do not feel too much pressure. Rather, look for something far away enough to be a fresh experience.
Keep in mind that just because you are seeking treatment somewhere else does not mean you will never go home again. Treatment will be temporary, and unless you decide to move afterward, your home will be there waiting for you when you return. See it as a vacation or adventure for your mind and body.
If Travel Is Not an Option
Although being in a new environment can be beneficial, not everyone can travel long distances. If a local treatment center is your best or only option, there are still ways to switch up your environment.
For example, you can spend more time in nature. Almost everywhere in the world has some kind of park, forest, or nature reserve nearby. Taking some time to get out of the hustle and bustle of modern society can greatly soothe the mind. Many treatment centers also offer wilderness therapy to aid in the treatment process.
Another good way to change your environment is to explore places nearby that you have not been to before. Check out some new restaurants, go to a park or museum, or take a trip to the local zoo. Taking a break from your normal routines can be beneficial even in short bursts.
After your time away from home, it is essential to keep some things in mind to prevent old habits from returning. Try to cut places out of your life that cause you to experience cravings or unwanted behaviors.
When your home is one of these places, it may help to change things around if you can. This may include putting up some new posters, rearranging or buying new furniture, and doing some painting. Even something as small as lighting some scented candles can help.
Although there are many things to keep in mind when recovering from substance use disorder or mental health disorders, making positive changes to your environment can go a long way.
The places you spend the most time in can have a significant impact on your mind. If a place is working well for you, try your best to keep it that way. However, sometimes, your surroundings can contribute to bad habits forming. In these cases, it can help to make changes in our lives. These changes may be small, like moving furniture, or big, like moving to another place. Either way, it is good to think about what might be best for you in all aspects of your life and well-being. At Everlast Recovery Centers, our facilities are designed to make you feel at home. Located in southern California, whose beauty draws in people from all over the world, we built our facilities with our patients’ comfort and mental health in mind. Contact us today at (866) 338-6925 to find the treatment and change of scenery that may help you find success.