How Fishing Can Benefit Mental Health
Fly Fishing is good for the soul.
1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children are experiencing mental difficulties in the UK. According to NHS statistics, it is one of the fastest growing diseases and cause of disability in this country. It is non-discriminatory and can affect everyone. Including the Bear founders.
There are numerous studies that suggest fly fishing can be used to foster positive mental wellbeing. Practised in the right way, this activity can be an immersive, meditative, experience. The mental momentum it generates allows you to enter a flow state in which all of your stress and troubles disperse. You are left feeling at one with nature, focused and present.
If, and when, you do catch a fish, the rush of adrenaline and endorphins experienced leave you feeling on top of the world. In fact, it's been shown that just the memory of a moment like this can leave you smiling for days.
For our co-founder Nell, who suffers from both generalised anxiety disorder and depression, fly fishing is one of the only sports she has done that completely calms her mind.
"For me, my anxiety has me constantly assessing every situation, analysing every possible outcome (usually the negatives) and trying to make sure I am ready to cope with any of them. It's like pushing 14 full shopping trolleys and preparing for the roof to fall all at the same time. It is exhausting and all-consuming at times. When I fish, there is no room in my head to think of anything other than fishing. I have to concentrate on balancing against the rushing river, casting the fly correctly and then watching the line, feeling it for the slightest tug and striking at the right time. You become so focused that you actually calm down. In that moment the only thing you need to do is catch that fish."
For these reasons, we at Bear see fly fishing as a truly unique sport; one which we believe has the potential to make a huge difference to your overall mental and physical wellbeing. We have made it part of our mission to help teach others to fish so they can see these benefits for themselves.