Top 10 Activities to Improve Your Mental Health in Phoenix, AZ


Holistic Mental Health Treatment Options

Arizona has a growing mental health problem. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death for Arizonians aged 15-34 and is the eighth-leading cause of death overall. Factors that contribute to these soaring rates include a lack of access to mental health treatment and a rise in prescription drug abuse.

It’s no secret that adopting good, healthy habits can make a big impact on our mental health long-term. With rising numbers of individuals who report having depression, anxiety or substance abuse, it’s especially crucial to learn effective methods of treatment that are available.

Far too often, we see individuals who turned to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with trauma or untreated mental illness. As an addiction recovery center, we definitely advocate for those who may be suffering to consider getting professional medical help. A trained staff with experience dealing with patients like yourself can help you through the process of being treated and create a customized recovery plan.

Additionally, learning about and practicing holistic health methods on your own can help set you up for success by teaching you healthy coping mechanisms that do not rely on drugs or alcohol.

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If you live in Arizona and may be struggling with your own mental health issues, we strongly encourage you to try out some of the activities listed below! 
Phoenix, AZ is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of hiking trails, year-round sunshine, and picturesque desert flora. We hope you will take advantage of the city’s unique characteristics and embrace all the activities that Phoenix has to offer.

1. Desert Hiking

Although Phoenix has plenty of opportunities for hiking, locals may bemoan the idea of going out during the hottest months of the year. Before choosing a hike, be sure to check the weather and pack plenty of water. In fact, many individuals underestimate the amount of water they need, so we recommend you err on the side of caution by packing lots of extra water! Remember that many trails do not offer much shade, so you should also be putting on lots of sunblock and using sun protective gear like hats.

Did you know hiking can be a form of active meditation? While you are hiking, be mindful of your surroundings. Enjoy the desert flora and wildlife that live in abundance. Not only does hiking provide useful cardio and exercise, but it can also help you develop a stronger appreciation for nature and encourages mental clarity.

Phoenix Hiking Trails: Piestewa Peak | Camelbak Mountain | North Mountain & Shaw Butte | Papago Park

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2. Kayaking

Kayaking on water can be very therapeutic. Not only is it a great outdoor workout that gets your blood flowing, but the very repetitive and symmetrical act of kayaking can provide benefits similar to meditation. Kayaking can be done alone, or in pairs of 2 depending on the size of the kayak. Renting a kayak can be relatively inexpensive.

Places to Kayak near Phoenix: Tempe Town Lake | Salt River Kayaking | Lake Pleasant

3. Fishing

Fishing may not be thought of as an ideal activity for the adrenaline-seeking daredevil, but it is a common hobby that can be picked up with some research and practice. To start, per state law any individual over the age of 10 needs a valid fishing or combination license to fish in public waters in Arizona. Licenses must be renewed every year unless you are interested in purchasing a one-day fishing pass.

Best Places to Fish near Phoenix: Chaparral Lake | Desert Breeze Lake | Tempe Town Lake | Cesar Chavez Park (Alford Lake) | Encanto Park

4. Salt River Tubing

If you’ve never heard of tubing before, allow us to explain this fun recreational water activity! One can spend their afternoon floating gently down the Salt River, even enjoying a moving picnic that travels along with you. While tubing is not exactly a sport, it is certainly a relaxing outdoor experience. Best of all, it is very inexpensive to rent a tube and is easily accessible from Phoenix.

5. Canyoneering

Canyoneering is a combination of several activities such as swimming and climbing with the main purpose of traveling through a canyon. It is definitely a more physically intensive activity than say, river tubing, and requires the help of a trained guide who has experience helping others navigate through a canyon.

Phoenix has multiple local canyoneering companies who can help coordinate with transportation and gear, and can better assess your physical skill to see how feasible canyoneering would be. If you are seeking an adventure, looking into canyoneering would be an excellent place to start.

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6. Equine Therapy

Did you know that equine therapy is commonly used by addiction treatment centers as an integral part of the recovery process? Learning how to interact and move with your horse can help teach you more about yourself, and identify patterns of behavior. In addition to its mental health benefits, it also encourages activity and exercise. If you are interested in equine therapy, research licensed equine

therapists near you as opposed to just horseback riding lessons. The former will be able to guide and teach you ways of using horseback riding to aid in your mental health, whereas the latter will likely be more focused on the technical aspects of horseback riding without necessarily using it as therapy.

7. Cycling

If you aren’t already in the cycling scene, you may be surprised to learn that Phoenix has a huge cycling community! Because the city and its surrounding areas enjoy copious amounts of land and trails, and the abundance of good weather, Phoenix is extremely well-suited for someone interested in both mountain biking and road cycling.

The health benefits of cycling are greater mobility, balance, muscle training, improved cardio, and potentially weight loss. Mentally, cycling can improve one’s self-confidence! Another unexpected benefit of taking up cycling is that it is good for the environment and your pocketbook by saving gas.

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8. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a quirky pastime that almost anybody can pick up! It can even be combined with other outdoor activities, such as hiking or cycling. While it is not an official experiential therapy like how equine therapy is, it can certainly provide some relaxation and other mental health benefits.

Luckily for aspiring birders, Arizona is a state flowing with different species of wildlife; in particular, many varieties of birds are also local Phoenix residents! You can easily begin your birdwatching journey by going on publicly accessible hiking trails. Alternatively, you can recruit the help of a guide by signing up for group birdwatching excursions.

Bird Watching Opportunities in Phoenix: Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden | Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area | Phoenix Zoo | Piestewa Peak

9. Rock Climbing

Not to be confused with canyoneering (although there is certainly some overlap!), rock climbing can be done at a rock climbing gym or in the great outdoors. There is definitely a learning curve, so beginner rock climbers should take their time making sure they are improving their technical skills and fitness levels before embarking on harder levels.

Before going to climbing routes in Arizona, we recommend you look for indoor rock climbing gyms near you to start. Then, as you become more comfortable with rock climbing, you will build your skill up enough to start outdoor rock climbing, getting better over time. There is also an abundance of rock climbing schools or rock climbing tours that you can look into attending!

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10. Yoga

Yoga is certainly a powerful holistic method for recovery. Not only do the principles of yoga encourage mindfulness, the art of patience and meditation, but the physical benefits of yoga include flexibility, strength, and balance. Furthermore, yoga is commonly used as a form of therapy to treat symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and fatigue.

The yoga community in Phoenix is certainly growing, with many yoga studios available offering trial passes to beginners. If joining a yoga studio isn’t within your budget, one can easily practice yoga at home or at a local park. There are a number of free resources for yoga on the Internet, ranging from beginner level poses to more advanced techniques.

If you are finding yourself stressed out, consider implementing yoga in your daily routine.

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Serving a Growing Need for Drug Rehab Facilities in Phoenix, AZ

The drug and alcohol addiction epidemic is no stranger to the state of Arizona. Sadly, many individuals dealing with substance abuse never end up seeking treatment, predominantly due to a lack of awareness about the recovery options available to them. Many residents in Phoenix, Arizona have concerns regarding insurance and healthcare, and this affects their likelihood of seeking help – for either their growing addiction, or any underlying mental health issues they may have.

We’ve covered how exactly addiction has impacted Phoenix, AZ in these blog posts:

Reflections Recovery Center’s holistic addiction treatment program, which is composed of a healthy focus on fitness and exercise, is heavily influenced by our fondness for the outdoors. Many of our clientele come to us from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area interested in our fitness-first approach to addiction treatment.

heroin treatment Prescott

I learned how to stay sober, found my best friends
and created a new life at Reflections.

— David S, Phoenix AZ.

Our facilities are located in Prescott, AZ, an hour and a half drive from Phoenix. We offer both outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment programs for residents of the Phoenix valley, with a strong appreciation for the beautiful ponderosa pine forest and hiking trails that Prescott offers.

Learn Why We Love Prescott, AZ

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