Can your doctor prescribe a mental health day of fishing? Doctors and mental health experts are increasingly utilizing nontraditional methods to combat anxieties and stress-related conditions.
Recently, a fishing group by the name Tackling Minds in the United Kingdom teamed up with Angling Direct and Professor Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University to work on a revolutionary project in mental health.
The results astonishingly showed that recreational anglers experienced lower anxiety disorder rates with reduced incidents of attempted suicides and deliberate self-harm, showing the growing significance of fishing therapy as a vital prescription for mental health.
Here at Recognize and Rise, we believe that the therapeutic landscape in the United States can also benefit significantly from recognizing and integrating fishing therapy’s positive impacts to provide solace to troubled minds and foster a sense of wellness.
So, How Is Fishing a Form of Therapy for Mental Health Conditions?
In 2021, Tackling Minds successfully presented their newfound results to England’s National Health Service (NHS), which recognized fishing as a social prescribing activity. With this recognition, the NHS highlighted fishing’s potential as nature therapy, offering mental health solutions and overall wellness benefits.
Additionally, the great outdoors has long been proven to boost serotonin levels, the feel-good hormones in our bodies. As part of nature therapy, fishing allows us to explore natural surroundings and relax the mind, all while engaging in a positive recreational activity.
5 Important Benefits of Fishing for Mental Health
In fishing, every moment is an opportunity for happiness, from preparing the bait to taking in the beauty of nature. Here, we highlight 5 major mental health benefits of fishing therapy:
1. Increased Physical Activity
Conditions such as depression can acutely affect our desire to stay physically active. Engaging in fishing helps people battling mental health issues improve their emotional and physical health, elevating their mood and enhancing self-esteem.
2. Improved Social Connection
Old age, physical disability, and other challenges can lead to social deprivation and isolation. Fishing provides a safe and welcoming environment for sport and engaging with society.
3. Improved Concentration and Focus
Whether observing the water for ripples or analyzing the behavior of fish, fishing demands focus and concentration. These skills improve cognitive function and offer psychological benefits for everyday life.
4. Exposure to “Blue Spaces” and Associated Benefits
Mental health services recommend spending time near water, often called “blue spaces,” to enhance various skills, including creative thinking. Blue spaces help with mental illness by lowering stress hormone levels in the body.
5. Serenity in Nature for Stress Relief
With its peaceful surroundings, fly fishing provides a natural place for meditation. Daily patterns of thought are broken up, and stress levels are reduced.
Time to Face Your Mental Health Challenges with Fishing Therapy
As studies have shown, fishing isn’t merely a sport; it’s a lifeline to mental wellness. While it does not replace professional therapy, fishing offers a holistic therapeutic experience combining physical activity, social interaction, cognitive engagement, and natural tranquility.
Whether to combat anxiety disorder, foster social connections, or aid in addiction recovery, fishing offers a holistic approach to well-being, enhancing mental and physical health. Become a part of the change and try fishing therapy today to experience its wonders.