There are more than 20 million veterans in America – the most number of veterans all over the world. As they go home from the field, they are confronted with numerous challenges – finding a new job, reestablishing relationships with friends and family, and adapting to civilian life. Many of these veterans have previous physical ailments that they would probably never heal from. But for others, the most devastating residue is the mental trauma.
Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress all take a tremendous toll on former service individuals. Over 10% of vets go through PTSD alone. Although the government allots billions to mental health services exclusively for American veterans, top-rated conventional therapies and affordable counseling don’t work all the time. To connect this breach, some groups, including those composed of counselors and other mental health professionals, have been considering a new type of therapy: fishing.
You might think it doesn’t make sense at first, but learning some moves with that fishing rod sure has several health benefits. But despite this, can fishing really help alleviate PTSD? Are most people now aware of its effectiveness? To know the answers to these questions, we asked specialists in fishing-based therapy, including counselors who have had the opportunity to prescribe fishing to their veteran clients. These are some of the things that veterans could gain out of learning how to fish as a hobby.
Great Physical Activity
Disorders like posttraumatic stress can produce severe effects on both the mind and body. Evening getting out of the house can be difficult, and this makes PTSD patients hesitant to exercise outdoors, which, in turn, makes leads them to be mostly overweight. Spending time fishing can be a marvelous hobby to back in shape, or stay in shape. There is a vital physical aspect to getting outdoors, hiking to your destination, boating and keeping the balance, carrying all your gear, and so forth and so on. That’s quite a lot of physical work that you won’t even realize is going on.
The physical aspect of things is more visible perhaps in kayak fishing, but still, it is something that everybody can enjoy. Additionally, getting out and realizing that they are able to do it will give these veterans the confidence boost that they need.
Mindfulness And Focus
Because veterans are mission-driven, they require something to concentrate on. Boating and catching fish becomes their next minor goal. It will provide them something to unwind and focus on. When they return to shore, they can relax. It’s not long-term but there’s a brief release, a fresh focus, and a new boost of self-esteem.
Mindfulness and flow – these may sound so modern, but it has time and again been proven to enhance people’s mental state. In fishing, numerous things come together that help people, and these veterans for that matter, find peace of mind. You are also in the middle of nature. Most places where you go fishing are wonderful, and we are aware from nature therapy that surrounding yourself with nature and its wonders do help emotionally and mentally. Water, too, has calming, therapeutic effects.
The most prevailing aspects of fishing therapy do not have anything to do with going outdoors. Interacting and getting out with other co-veterans creates a sense of community that frequently goes together with PTSD. It’s also a feeling that most vets miss when they are home for good.
Individuals with depression, anxiety, and PTSD feel alone. They think that nobody understands how they really feel. So when they find a group of friends that were once in the military and have experienced the same emotions and symptoms, they are able to share each other’s experiences and express themselves appropriately. Establishing friendship and community appears to be the top priority for how these veterans can feel that they are somehow understood.
Instant Relief, Permanent Benefits
A person who has gone on a fishing rendezvous knows just how invigorating it can be. The question remains: Can fishing have a positive permanent effect on an individual’s mental state? Or is it merely a short-term cure? The answer according to counselors is, yes, it can actually be both.
For those who fish twice or thrice a month, they might see short-lived effects, but for individuals who are more engaged and pursue fishing three or four times a week, they are assured of lifelong fishing trip benefits. Fishing can be something that any ability, any age, and anyone can do. And it’s something that you can keep doing for a long time.
Fishing therapy might begin as some kind of retreat, but it’s a hobby that people can continue doing even after the first trip. And even if there is no social aspect of being with other veterans, they still acquire all the pros that nature and fishing bring. They get to start a new hobby, and for others, even a new opportunity for a job.
Fishing, which can be included as part of several recreational therapies, is still new and people continue to learn new things about it. Ultimately, for veterans, it can be an effective activity to maintain or improve their mental and emotional health.