15 Mental Health Benefits of Going Fishing


We live in a complicated, uncontrollable, often scary world, and all of that negativity can lead to some serious stress. Show us someone who doesn’t experience anxiety at some point in his or her daily life and we’ll show you someone who is lying (or in denial). But you need coping mechanisms to help you deal with that stress and feel better mentally and emotionally, and fishing might be just what you need. Yes, fishing. There are many mental health benefits of fishing.

And considering how stressed our population is these days, we could use all the psychological help we can get. Recent statistics from the American Psychological Association show that “though adults today report an average stress level only slightly higher than in 2014, significantly greater percentages report experiencing extreme stress levels.” Beyond that, many of those adults report “diagnoses of mental health-related chronic illnesses, such as depression.” Stress is bad for you, and it’s very common. That’s the not-so-good news. The better news? There are undeniable psychological benefits of fishing that can help you feel better on a deep, emotional and mental level.

And if you were looking for reasons to go fishing, well this list is a pretty convincing place to start. Here are 15 mental health benefits of fishing.

1. It Can Improve Your Focus

Anyone who has been fishing knows you don’t typically catch a fish in the first five minutes, and if you take your eye off the prize, that fish is gone. Fishing requires focus on the task at hand, which incidentally makes you forget about everything else that is bothering you.

2. It Will Reduce Stress

According to the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology, in order to deal with stress humans must have a relaxation response, or a “purposeful initiation of a physical state of deep rest, one that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress.” And fishing can do that in ways similar to meditation or mindfulness. The repetition of movement mixed with the calming water can both help your body relax and combat stress.

3. Fishing Can Help You Unplug

Whether you’re out on a fishing boat, you’re standing on a dock or you’re knee-deep in a rolling stream, if you’re fishing, you’re not at your desk, you’re not staring at your phone or your emails and you’re not watching the news. You’re unplugged, which is important for your sanity from time to time.

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