How Spending Time in the Great Outdoors Can Help Curb Compulsive Gambling
Your journey to recovery from problem gambling could begin with a breath of fresh air. While resources like the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’s (FCCG) Problem Gambling HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT, can connect contacts with in-person, online and phone support, there are other recovery avenues worth exploring such as spending time in the great outdoors — an easily accessible and free tool in remaining bet-free. With June being National Great Outdoors Month, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the benefits of spending time outdoors and offer free outdoor activity ideas you can access around Florida.
Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous psychological and physical benefits, including an increase in happiness, well-being, positive social interactions, and an overall sense of meaning and purpose in life. Contact with nature can also lower mental distress. For those struggling with problem gambling, being outdoors can provide a welcome distraction from the constant preoccupation with betting.
Another significant benefit of spending time in nature is the opportunity to engage in physical activities. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help improve mood and reduce stress levels. Playing a sport, going for a run or simply taking a walk outdoors can help individuals focus their energy on something positive and productive, rather than on compulsive gambling.
Spending time outdoors can be a great way to connect with people by socializing and participating in group activities. This can be especially helpful for those who may be feeling isolated or lonely due to their gambling addiction.
Living in Florida, we have access to a wide range of outdoor activities that can help support problem gambling recovery. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Hiking – Florida boasts many hiking trails that offer a chance to explore the state’s beautiful natural scenery while getting in some exercise.
- Beach activities – Florida’s beaches offer a wealth of outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and beach volleyball.
- Cycling – Cycling is an excellent way to get exercise while exploring Florida’s cities and natural areas.
- Fishing – Florida is famous for its fishing opportunities, with countless lakes, rivers and coastal areas offering a chance to catch a variety of fish.
- Camping – June is also National Camping Month, making it a great time to immerse yourself in nature and get away from the distractions of everyday life.
Ongoing struggles with problem gambling may not be remedied with a single hike or night spent under the stars. However, making it a point to get out of the house and away from betting facilities (even if that means leaving your phone at home to curb stock trading or online gambling) could offer a foundation for your recovery journey. Remember the FCCG’s Your One Sure Thing has countless resources available to all Floridians at no cost through the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. It is free, confidential, 24/7, and multilingual, so getting the help you need is only a phone call or text message away.
- Bratman, Gregory, et al. “Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective.” Science Advances, July 2019. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aax0903