Life can often be stressful and this can take a bit of a toll on our psychological wellbeing over time. The topic of mental health has become much more widely discussed in the wellbeing industry in recent years as the taboo around discussing it slowly ebbs away.
There is now plenty of research being done on maintaining and improving your mental health. Whether someone is living with a mental health condition such as depression or they just generally want to make improvements to their mental wellbeing, there is plenty that can be done to help.
Practising self-care is something that everyone can (and should) do regularly for their mental and physical wellbeing. Activities such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness are popular examples that many people enjoy.
There has also been research published that suggests participating in water-based activities can have a positive impact on a person’s wellbeing. One study found that frequent participation in boating and watersports can raise an individual’s life satisfaction and reduce anxiety levels by 15 percent.
Here, we look at some of the ways that you can get out on the water a little more in order to improve and maintain good mental health:
Whether it is at a local swimming baths, open water or at the seaside, swimming can have great effects on your wellbeing. Swimming is a form of exercise and exercise causes the release of hormones known as endorphins.
Endorphins are what help you to feel more positive, upbeat and a greater sense of happiness. This in turn can help to reduce your stress levels and the act of swimming can help to distract you from any stresses you currently face.
Swimming is great for brain health too as it increases blood flow and can help protect the brain from harmful toxins. Cold water swimming outdoors has additional benefits as it could potentially help to treat depression, with the theory being that the shock of the cold water helps the body to respond better to stress.
This activity can have social benefits when done with others. You could join a swimming club, participate in group swimming classes or even go wild water swimming with a group of friends, giving you the opportunity to meet new people or maintain current relationships.
Swimming can also be done alone (providing it is safe to do so), which is great for clearing your head and having some peace and quiet after a busy week.
Another water-based activity that can improve your wellbeing is sailing. Sailing is far more accessible than you may think and you do not need to own your own boat to get involved, for example you could join a local sailing club.
Alternatively, you can combine sailing with a holiday and charter a yacht or catamaran. This can now be done easily online from sites such as Borrow A Boat, online charter companies have made the process far simpler and more affordable.
You can sail rivers, lakes or even the open ocean. Getting out on the water can give you a sense of freedom and calmness.
While sailing isn’t something you can just do without any training or experience, you choose to hire a skipper when you charter a vessel. They can take away any stress of sailing the boat yourself so that you can enjoy the experience and focus on experiencing the waves and looking out for marine life.
If hiring a skipper, they can tell you all about the local hotspots to explore and can help you plan out the best sailing trip. Whether you go island hopping in Greece or sailing along the French Riviera, it will likely have a boost effect on your mental wellbeing.
Watersports are often thrilling and are enjoyable to participate in, there are watersports to suit all interests and abilities. For example, paddleboarding is something many people can have a go at, and the repetitive movement of paddling is said to help focus the mind.
With a little practice, you can become more steady at standing on the paddleboard and can paddle faster as your confidence on the water increases. Developing this new skill can give you a sense of accomplishment.
Surfing also has a similar effect and is a popular choice for those living on or regularly visiting the coast. Surfing is also a sociable activity that is often done in groups, there are clubs, tournaments or even just casual friendly meetups that you can get involved in.
These are just a few examples of water-based activities that can boost your mental wellbeing. Actively maintaining your mental health is important for preventing the development of mental illness and can and positively impact your physical health too. Getting out on the water can make you happier, healthier and overall improve your standard of living.