Mental health is just as crucial to overall well-being as physical health. And for many people, maintaining this part of their lives can be as challenging as they come.
Statistics show that in 2020, 21% of adults in the United States experienced some form of mental health challenge. However, what several people who struggle with mental health challenges might not necessarily know is that archery can be a soothing balm for the mind.
Archery provides a recreational pursuit, a healthy fitness routine, and a Zen for the well-being of the mind and soul. Of course, archery also gets you outdoors, which is a great thing to start with. As soon as you get outdoors with a bow and arrow, it gets you moving. You find strength, and as you get better at it, it boosts your self-esteem.
Any archery expert will attest that the sport requires a healthy mind just as much as a healthy body. And just as archery helps to exercise your body, it also keeps your mind in shape - especially when combined with other tools like meditation and yoga.
In this article, we’ll run through a few of the most important mental health benefits that archery brings.
The Mental Health Benefits of Archery
Focus and dedication
One of the most significant psychological benefits of archery is that it helps focus your mind. Every archer is trained to keep their eye on a target - but, as we stated earlier, it’ll be impossible to do that if your mind also doesn’t focus on hitting it.
With archery, your mind is trained to ignore distractions and fight through adversity - the wind, noise, distance, and even other archers on the range. For most people, this level of focus can also be applied to other aspects of life, creating a much stronger mind.
Due to its ability to improve focus, archery has even been credited with helping military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It quiets your mind, allowing you to focus better on things you can control.
The lesson of patience
Archery is quite simple to pick up. The challenge, however, comes when you try to be proficient at it. Despite the thrill you get when you hit a target, you also need to be patient and watchful. If you’re looking to be a professional, long-term archer, you must learn to be patient and bide your time with every shot.
Like focus, patience also helps to strengthen your mind. With archery, your mind is trained never to give up, and you get to improve your mental fortitude.
Even as you compete with other archers, the truth is that your biggest opponent is yourself. In the end, the outcome of your shot depends primarily on you. So, it’s your responsibility to get better and improve on your shot.
Generally, there’s a sense of mood alleviation and fulfillment that comes with being able to hit a target. And sometimes, you don’t even need to hit the target. All you need is to see that you’re making significant progress on your shot, and you become more confident to keep trying - as well as to try other things in your life.
The mood alleviation and confidence benefits can easily extend to other aspects of your life. The more progress you make with something, the better you feel about yourself.
Developing social skills
Archery is a global sport that accepts people of different backgrounds. And befitting every global sport, it also provides an opportunity for you to meet people and form relationships.
Whenever you go to an archery range, there are ample opportunities for you to meet new people. You can learn from each other, form friendships, and even build relationships that can last your lifetime. For people who have trouble socializing, archery could easily be the gateway to enjoying better, more fulfilling relationships with their peers.
Dealing With Mental Health Challenges? Pick Up A Bow & Arrow
With so many subtle lessons and a clear path to progress, archery helps you to build social skills and self-confidence. Its mood alleviation benefit should also not be overlooked - especially as you improve your skills.
Of course, it is worth noting that archery isn’t the one-size-fits-all solution for mental health challenges. Meditation, yoga, and journaling, among other techniques, have also proven to have significant benefits for your mind. However, for people looking to build their mental health as they work on their bodies, archery is beyond ideal.