CLIMBING AND MENTAL WELLBEING - Mental Health Awareness week 2018
Last week the mental health foundation (www.mentalhealth.org.uk) hosted mental health awareness week. There is a particular focus on STRESS this year, as it has been seen to be one of the biggest causes of mental health problems.
Here at climb outside the topic of mental health is quite important to us. We strongly believe that being outside in nature, and climbing outside in particular can be a real aid in maintaining a healthy mind and body.
We also believe that talking about mental health will hopefully encourage others to do so too, and end the stigma that still surrounds the issue. We have all had personal experiences or know of someone close to us who’s suffered, as this is unfortunately a very common illness to experience from in our society. One of our instructors ‘Hannes Bonitz’ has kindly shared his story with us on his experience of an unpleasant time in his life and how he overcame it.
Although I knew there are many rewards of being outside, I experienced the very specific benefits that climbing outside can have on my mental wellbeing during a period of depression back in 2013.
I suffered from the effects of a long-term relationship breaking down. This, coupled with starting my first job as a newly qualified teacher in a local comprehensive school, took me on a path downwards. It was tough. The stress of the job and dealing with the loss of my relationship got me into a deep hole for a while. I felt totally burnt out, I didn’t know who I was, what I was doing or where I was going in life.
Friends at home helped me a lot, but I decided I had to take a time out. So I flew to south east Asia, I spent a few weeks in a monastery and then went on a 3 months long climbing trip!It changed my life. I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness during my time in the monastery, I more and more began to understand the importance of practicing mindfulness daily for being able to add quality to every aspect of life and ultimately become happier. One key factor in mindfulness is focus. Being able to control your focus and shift it at will. Climbing turns out to be the perfect activity for me to practice the control of my focus.
I have a very restless character by nature! Practicing mindfulness and the approach to use climbing as an active form of meditation is one of the most powerful and fun(!) tools to train your control of focus and be in the present moment that I have experienced in my life so far. It has helped me immensely to relax and it has made me a happier, more successful person.
We now run a Mindfulness Climbing Course - 10% of which goes to the Mindfulness Project which is setup in exactly that monastery in which I spent my time in 2014. It's a great course. It's modern, relevant and fun.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Unfortunately at this time, we cannot advise about, or offer any individual mental heath advice. IF YOU FEEL AT ANY TIME YOU NEED SUPPORT, Please contact:
- S A M A R I T A N S (For everyone): 0116 123 or email: Jo@Samaritans.org
- C A M P A I G N A G A I N S T L I V I N G M I S E R A B L Y : 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight)
- P A P Y R U S (For people under 35): 0800 068 41 41 (Monday to Friday 10 am to 10pm, Weekends 2pm to 10pm) or text: 07786 209697 or email: Pat@papyrus-uk.org.uk
- C H I L D L I N E (For children under 19): 0800 11 11
- THE SILVERLINE (For older people): 0800 470 80 90
- NHS: 111 (They will help you find the help and support you need)
A trusted guide to metal and emotional help: WWW.HELPGUIDE.ORG
Keep smiling and ... work less - climb more outside ;)