Sailing Away From Stress

With stress becoming an ever-increasing problem in our modern world how can we protect our own mental and physical health? Are there measures that we can take to support others who may be experiencing such issues?

Research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reported that the total number of working days lost due to stress last year was 9.9 million. Stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. With bills to pay and customers to satisfy there are healthier and more sustainable ways to release stress. For those who suffer from long-term ill health and unemployment, stress can compound these issues. While it is important to speak to a GP about any mental health concerns, for managing stress I have found the following to be beneficial:

Sailing – Like millions of enthusiasts I’ve been a lover of the sea since I was a small child.  Standing on the beach looking out to sea I am amazed by the enormity of it all.  Sailing enthrals me as each trip is an unknown adventure. Take for example the following trip Sunsail holidays .

These excursions give sailors an insight into life long ago. In those days motoring 10 miles out to sea wasn’t just a pleasure cruise: it was a means of capturing food to survive. While centuries ago fishermen lived a precarious existence, they didn’t suffer from any of our modern-day pressures. Many would argue that toiling on the land and working out at sea brought people a greater sense of peace. Mother Nature’s own therapy.

Having been a passenger on a number of fishing trips I have been able to drift away from my everyday problems. My time on the ocean provided me with the peace and freedom to put any issues that I had into context. By the time I had arrived back on shore, I always felt relaxed and exhilarated. It had given me the space to think more clearly about how to proceed in any given situation.

On one trip I was privileged to sail from Marina del ray on a 100-foot sailing yacht.  What a beauty: white, slender and tall with intricate fixings and rigging. It had everything you needed for a trip into the frontier. With the wind in our hair, we glided effortlessly through the waves. It provided me with an almost spiritual awakening as to how I needed to ‘let go!’ of negative memories. The trip allowed me to experience new ways of thinking and, ultimately new ways of behaving.

But don’t just take my word for it! Scientists have revealed that the saltiness of the sea air is composed of charged ions. These ions support the body to absorb oxygen which in turn results in a more balanced level of serotonin. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the body. It helps to regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function.

If you are reading this and haven’t sailed before, I urge you to do so. Sailing isn’t just for the rich or privileged. It’s for everyone. Increasingly individuals and groups are creating new and exciting ways for once-excluded communities to join in the fun.

Sailing is also playing a pivotal role in giving disadvantaged youngsters a new start in life. The Ocean Youth Trust South is helping those between 12 and 25-years-old to develop vital life skills. These include improving their confidence and developing their skills in team-work, communication, resilience and ability to cope with unfamiliar experiences. Ocean Youth Trust South.

Then there are the six sailing enthusiasts, who created the Disabled Sailing Association.

The Royal Yachting Association has a programme aimed specifically at those with a disability: ‘Sailability’. The Association is actively recruiting volunteers to help support the project. These charities couldn’t function without the help of volunteers which brings me to my second point:

Volunteering – Volunteering for a charity of any description not only helps the group or charity involved, but it is also life-changing for the volunteer too! It gives people the freedom to gain new skills, make new friends, and helps to boost well-being too.

26 per cent of people in England participated in formal volunteering at least once a month. 35 per cent of people in England participated in informal volunteering at least once a month. 62% said they volunteered because they ‘wanted to improve things/help people’. 65% of regular formal volunteers said they were ‘satisfied from seeing the results.’

For those who are unemployed, volunteering can help some people to gain employment?  But how? Employers are increasingly rating volunteering highly in surveys.

Host Of Charities

There are a host of charities that need volunteers. Contact the following organisations to see how you can get involved, if you don’t have the sea legs for sailing.

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Comment (1)

  • Adrian Clark Reply

    Reading Moby Dick will bring one a magnificent perspective on life at sea.

    January 28, 2019 at 6:44 pm

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