Do You Know That Sailing is Good for Your Mental Health?
It probably won’t surprise many to learn that a sailing adventure, in some ridiculously dreamy part of the world, does wonders for the soul. But what about the mind? Can sailing actually be good for your mental health as well?
The mental health benefits of sailing – more than skin-deep therapy
Sailing aficionados don’t need to be convinced that time spent on the sea is immensely therapeutic. Being away from our overstimulated daily lives and immersed in an awe-inspiring environment, allows us to disconnect with chaos and connect with the peacefulness of nature. Scientific studies have long proven that just being in the proximity with water can have profoundly relaxing effects on our bodies. Our breathing deepens and slows down. Our stress levels plummet, and our general feeling of well-being is almost instantaneous.
Sailing therapy has been successfully studied in Sardinia (Italy) on people suffering from severe mental disorders. Sailing rehab programs have been operating in various parts of the world for years and the results have been astonishing. Of course, one need not suffer from a severe mental disorder to soak up the benefits of sailing. The really exciting finding of the above-mentioned study is that the positive effects on body and mind of the research participants were measurable up to 12 months after their sailing therapy sessions.
Sailing takes that ‘water therapy’ to the next level. Cast off on a weeklong vacation aboard a luxury yacht and the psychological (and physiological) benefits are compounded. The benefits are tangible. Our heart rate and blood pressure decrease and our levels of serotonin and dopamine (those essential feel-good hormones) increase.
Why does longer translate to better? Because when sailing for longer than a single day, you’ll also start benefiting from better sleep and a lack of attention fatigue. This is the stress that overloads our prefrontal cortex – the kind of deep and multi-tasked concentration needed to complete our demanding daily tasks. From work to school and family commitments: all these things subconsciously tax our minds and, in turn, our bodies.
A sailing adventure is about the best way to remove all those stresses. When casting off for a week-long sailing vacation, you can truly unplug from everyday life: literally and figuratively!
It’s no wonder that one of our clients calls it “meditative magic without having to do the work of meditating”. Over and over again, people tell us, I have not felt this relaxed in years” and “I felt like I re-discovered the carefree part of me.”
The strength of togetherness - when sharing really is caring
Sharing a sailing adventure with loved ones intensifies the mental health benefits and this seems to be particularly true of families with young children. Sobering statistics (see here) say that quality family time is seriously amiss in our hectic lives and Washington State University Professor Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist, says family vacations are crucial to the ‘emotional refueling’ of the family unit.
Anyone who’s ever enjoyed a family sailing vacation would certainly agree. When you explore, enjoy, indulge and have fun, together, that euphoric loving’ feeling is long-lasting.
Can sailing therapy be within your reach?
Sailing may seem like the hedonistic pleasure of the wealthy but, as we’ve recently shown, a sailing charter can indeed be cheaper than cruising on megaliners and infinitely more enjoyable, especially in COVID-times. You don’t need to own your own boat to benefit from the sea!
Rather than being caged into a floating ‘city’ with a thousand (or more) strangers, chartering your own private yacht means you can be immersed in your beautiful surroundings on a smaller yacht. With just a gorgeous deck separating you from the sea, you can soak up the health benefits of the sea breeze, the salty air and the peacefulness.
Active sailing vacations – putting all those benefits to good use
Once the initial benefits of sailing kick in, you’ll be revitalized and re-energized. And then it’ll be time for the fun to begin.
On sailing adventures, you’ll swap your home office work with days spent kayaking, water skiing and snorkelling, and you don’t need to be Einstein to know how good that will feel. Indulge in gourmet dining, on-shore hiking, shopping and sightseeing – and give Netflix the flick – and see how alive and revitalized you feel. Your energy levels will skyrocket, you’ll have the chance to be more physically active and this is what will improve your cardiovascular health, your alertness and your overall mood.
Sailing is one of the best ways to improve your mental health at the best of times. In 2020 and 2021, considering most families want to protect their own social bubble, sailing charters have become even more efficient at gifting incredible health benefits.
As one of our most recent clients quipped “Sailing in the Virgin Islands for a week did more for our well-being than a decade of therapy could ever have done. Everything seemed so right in the world, and our lives, aboard our yacht.”