Cast Your Mental Health Issues Away

M.J Ryan, author of “The Power of Patience”, explains that learning patience greatly benefits health. Impatience causes stress, weakening your immune system and raising your blood pressure. Patience, meanwhile makes you calmer and more content and fishing is all about patience. There are so many health benefits of fishing and one thing fishing greatly improves is your mental health.

Craig Murphy is the sponsored angler at the Southside Angling shop in Dublin, helping out strongly with social media work. Craig makes fishing a big part of his life as he too believes in its health benefits and the importance in having a hobby. Craig fishes for all types of fish. Craig explains “each fish has a season or best time of year to fish for them. It’s early spring now so I’m fishing for pike, perch and trout”.

Craig emphasises that there are a lot of health benefits to fishing as a hobby. Craig says “I often walk rivers for lure fishing which is plenty of exercise and also allows a person to get fresh air which is much needed”. But he stresses that mental health is the most beneficial as it is time to unwind. Craig states it is time to “turn off from the busy world we live in, put the phone on silent and forget about your worries”.

Fishing also helps a person remain unplugged and get true self time, by the lack of internet, phone calls, news, it’s a method to take a break from the world. This is vital to your own sanity.

Fishing is taking your time, your time to yourself. “You time” is one of the most important things when it comes to a healthy mind and that means taking the time to isolate yourself and allow yourself true relaxation. Life is an unpredictable and stressful whirlwind and it is vital to get out of your own head for a while or it can lead to very serious mental health issues.

According to the Irish Examiner, 82% of Irish workers are stressed, stress is bad for you and the lack to relieve stress properly is detrimental. There are undeniable psychological benefits of fishing that can make you feel better on a deep, emotional and mental level.

According to the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology, to deal with stress humans must have a relaxation response, “purposeful initiation of a physical state of deep rest, one that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress.” Fishing can do that in ways like meditation or mindfulness. The repetition of movement mixed with the calming water can both help your body relax and combat stress.

Craig says “I fish when I can get the time to. I usually get out at least three times a month in winter for full days and possibly twice a week in a summer”. Craig describes himself as a fishing addict saying he will go whenever he possibly can because of the benefits it gives his health and mind.

Fishing promotes the connect with nature. Getting outside for fresh air and appreciating what we rarely do. Nature promotes a person to calm down, unwind and breathe. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in a life pattern of get up, go to work, come home, dinner, sleep and repeat.

Jenny Casey is a member of the Irish Ladies Fly Fishing group and has been fishing from a young age. Jenny goes fishing because she loves to be outside and take in the nature around her. Jenny believes fishing to be ‘me time’ and says “fishing is my reset button to recharge and chill”.

Taking time to get outside is very good for the mind and your overall health. The world is noisy and can often be filled with negativity that rains down on you, fishing provides a quiet and peaceful environment. No one is around, it’s just you, the fish, the open water and fresh air.

Jenny believes there are many mental health benefits to fishing. She explains: “fishing is a method of being active and mindfulness”. She continues “I lost my job in 2009 and was not in a good place so I went back to fishing as I had given it up to concentrate on my career”.

Fishing also aids mental health in a social way, as fishing can be a way to make friends for life. Jenny says “I fish with ILFA and have gained many friends from this”. Craig agrees with this point saying “I’ve brought friends fishing when they needed to get out and clear the head”. Fishing is a great bonding experience.

Craig mentions he is always happy after a day’s fishing saying that “even if it didn’t go to plan and no fish were seen”. Fishing is great exercise which will lead to endorphins making a person feel happier and more content in their life.

Jenny explains that fishing is a way for her to distress since her school days. She says “When I sat both my Junior Cert and Leaving Cert, I used to come home after my exams and grab my gear to go to the river and fish for a few hours”. She continues “Now, I just can’t wait to get the gear out and get everything ready for a day on the lake”.

Craig says there is “nothing like getting out on the boat and catching a few big fish to remind you there is more to life than what is getting you down”. He carries on saying “fishing is a chance to see different parts of the country, see wildlife, immerse yourself in the natural environment and meet people outside your normal circles”.

Fishing is most certainly a way of travelling and seeing new things and places.

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