Mental health is front and centre these days, and for good reason.
Kids have it a lot tougher than when we were growing up, and an exceeding amount of children are not handling it well.
Boating and Fishing can help. But before we get into that let's take a look at what the next generation is up against these days:
What Leads To Mental Illness In Youth And Adolescents?
The study of mental illness in children and teens is relatively new. As time progresses we're sure to learn more and become more precise with identifying the causes and cures to mental illness. For now, we're able to identify a few triggers.
- Identity Issues
- Family Dysfunction
- Involvement With The Justice System
- Substance Abuse
What Does This Lead To?
Again, we're pretty early into the studies but we do have a little bit of knowledge under our belt. Youngsters who experience one or more of the above mentioned life-events have a 1:4 chance of developing:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (overanxious disorder)
- Separation Anxiety
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Eating Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
This list is by no means complete. There are many other ways that children suffer, and the more we look into things the more clear things become.
What Are The Signs?
- Frequently feels anxious, stressed or worried
- Has frequent tantrums or is extremely irritable much of the time
- Has frequent headaches or stomachaches that have no physical explanation
- Can’t sit still for any length of time
- Has trouble sleeping or has frequent nightmares
- Loses interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Withdraws from friends or family
- Does poorly in school or experiences a decline in grades
- Is obsessed with a fear of gaining weight and exercises or diets excessively
- Has low energy or no energy
- Periodically has spells of intense activity
- Engages in self-harm behaviours like cutting
- Engages in risky, self-destructive behaviours
- Abuses drugs or alcohol
- Has suicidal thoughts
- Hears voices, feels out of control or believes their mind is controlled
It's sometimes difficult for parents to notice these things. Sometimes they're just having "a bad day" and often these signs are not drastic. They slowly escalate over a period of time. The majority of the time, kids won't ask for help because they don't know that anything's wrong.
Whether your children are displaying signs of mental illness or not, as a parent you want to provide your children with as much support as you can.
Experts agree that Family Based prevention strategies tend to be the most successful, and that's where boating comes in.
How Boating Help With Mental Illness
Of course there is medication and therapy that you can turn to, but as the saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
You can never control every aspect of your children's' lives, and there's bound to be some outside influences. What you can do is make efforts to minimize their chances of negative mental impact.
Here's what the experts advise:
- Help children foster meaningful relationships
- Help children develop self-esteem
- Engage with their feelings
- Encourage and help children solve problems
- Establish Routine
Boating is a great way to achieve many of these recommended actions. Here's why:
The repetitive nature of casting and reeling teaches patience and focus.
The disconnection from technology empowers you to connect with those around you.
The peace and quiet of the outdoors allows your mind to slow down and think introspectively, which makes emotions easier to identify and talk about.
There's a great deal of satisfaction and self-esteem gained from launching a boat, steering it through the water, and tying off bait. Topping the list is catching a fish, especially if it's her or his first one.
Not only do these kids of giant smiles on their faces, they're developing self-esteem and strengthening their relationships with their parents. Tools that can last a lifetime.
It doesn't stop there.
Sure we all grew up indoors, but for the majority of our 200,000 year existence we've been side-by-side with open air, forest, flowers, and fresh water. Scientists don't quite understand the nature of this relationship, but all signs point to immediately reduces stress when kids spend time outdoors.
Time outdoors is also reported to:
- Balance circadian rhythm, enabling you to sleep better
- Improve coping mechanisms when dealing with loss
- Improve self-awareness
- Engage your senses to reduce anxiety
- Exposes you to light (Vitamin D) to improve self-esteem
- Improves short term memory
- Lowers levels of inflammation
- Restores mental and physical energy
- Protects your vision
- Lowers blood pressure
And you know what?
All of these benefits are good for the rest of the family too. Absolutely everybody can experience improvements to their mental and physical health with a little more boating in their lives.
Take advantage of your Legend Boat and experience the outdoors as often as possible and spend some time with the family. Take care of yourself and each other.
Yours In Boating,