At the Helm: We have the cure for what ails us

By David Gee

“We have all hit the wall.” That’s the title of a recent article in The New York Times. The piece details a “late-pandemic crisis of productivity, of will, of enthusiasm, of purpose.”

The article cites a survey that the paper did asking readers to describe their work-related challenges 13 or 14 months into the global pandemic. The results are quite eye-opening.

“I feel like I’m in quicksand.” “I’m just so exhausted all the time.” “I’m doing so much less than I normally do.” “Every time my inbox dings, I feel a sense of dread.” “So many things seem like so much more work than my brain can handle.” And on and on. You get the idea.

And this article is hardly an isolated one. Put in “languishing” as a Google search term and watch the articles come up from nearly every corner of the media universe.  

Dr. Corey Keyes is the sociologist who coined the term “languishing” in 2002. “It’s not depression, but it’s the absence and insufficiency of feeling good and functioning well,” he told the National Post.

Psychologist Sheila Forman, PhD, calls languishing the pandemic blues. She tells Health that at first the changes in our routines were a welcome respite from the daily grind. “But as time went on and the realities of the pandemic sunk in, what started as a nice way to spend some time became our lives and with it a heightened sense of sadness, loneliness, and depression.”

The bad news is the global pandemic is wreaking havoc on our collective mental health. The good news though is that many of us possess – or have access to – at least one prescription for what ails us. Namely, a boat.

In the book Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols writes about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.

Combining neuroscience, medical research and compelling personal stories, Nichols shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.

“The evidence is overwhelming that water positively impacts us in material ways,” wrote Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin in a Boating Industry blog post about Blue Mind two years ago.  “As an industry we inherently know this, but we are not as bold about it as we should be.”

Perhaps it’s time to change that this summer. Boating isn’t just a fun, safe, family-friendly activity, it’s a boost to our mental health, a shot of endorphins, and at least a partial cure for what ails us.

See you on the water!­­

David Gee is the content director for Boating Industry.

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