This week (15-21 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s focus is anxiety.
Water sports like scuba diving and snorkelling can help protect your mental health and manage anxious feelings.
Research by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) shows that 60% of UK adults experienced feelings of anxiety that interfered with their lives in the last two weeks. Anxiety can affect anyone physically and mentally. When anxious you may feel your heart rate increasing, headaches, loss of appetite, chest pain, or breathlessness*.
Anxiety might make you feel tense or nervous, find it hard to relax, feel tearful or have problems sleeping and concentrating. Friends or family might notice you are more irritable than usual, or more withdrawn. Or perhaps you seem fine on the outside but feel panicky inside.
Here’s three positive things to consider:
We’re all different but for some people being active helps reduce anxiety. This could include getting out of the house, participating in sport or even practising breathing techniques. You can boost your mood just by being outside, so exercise outdoors more often and you’ll find an improvement in your physical and mental well-being.
Connecting with nature
Research suggests people who exercise on or near water and greenery may be able to reduce their feelings of depression and anger, as well as improve their confidence. With sunshine (but not sunburn!) you’ll get more vitamin D, which has been found to play a large role in mood disorders such as depression. You can boost your levels of vitamin D just by being outside.
Talk to someone
Anxiety isn’t just something we can overcome on our own. So much of what may trigger anxiety is not within our control. While causes of anxiety are complex, financial worries, social isolation, social pressures and discrimination can all play a part.
BSAC members benefit from the support of the community and our clubs. Building the confidence to be with other people and share experiences could make all the difference to their and/or your life.
It is easy to withdraw from those around you when you're struggling with your mental health, but meeting new friends in your scuba diving or snorkelling club and taking part in club activities can be a great way to involve yourself to alleviate the feelings of anxiety.
Let’s get social
The MHF are encouraging everyone to share their experiences and join in the conversation using hashtag #ToHelpMyAnxiety.