The Zen of Fishing

2012-10-03 18.37.22It’s no secret that I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety issues over the years.  There are a number of things that can stoke them up within me, but in the end, I find myself obsessing over one simple issue that really, for the most part, is inconsequential.  . . however, overwhelmingly taking over my brain.

Over the years, I’ve developed many methods in which to deal with this anxiety, many of which weren’t entirely healthy, some just plain costly, and only a few were all that truly effective.

A couple years ago, my wife and kids purchased a fishing pole for me.  I had been talking about wanting to get back into fishing, since my over a decade’s worth of a hiatus from the sport.  My wife finally took the hint.  Having a fishing license for the first time in my life felt good.  It felt, well, manly.  But it also brought about something even better.  A cure for anxiety.

You see, most of my effective treatments for anxiety just involved me getting out somewhere and thinking about the item at hand without distractions around.  Guess what. . . that’s precisely the type of thing fishing allows, especially since the fishing in town here isn’t exactly hopping.

Now, instead of having to depart in the middle of the night to head out to a casino or some other such place that becomes the destination purely because of the distance involved in driving there, I have a place right in town, outdoors, and, well, free.

And. . . it doesn’t appear nearly as pathetic as sitting at a bar alone, or playing penny slots for hours in an empty casino.  In fact, it’s almost a social affair, because although I generally attempt to find a very secluded location that involves treacherous trails to reach, there always seems to be a plethora of kayakers making their way directly in the path of my hidden fishing spots.

But the really important thing is, I’m getting out and actually thinking about the item at hand, instead of allowing today’s world’s multitude of distractions to avoid actually allowing them into my brain.  I’m separating myself from everything and just plain being me for a bit.

I don’t generally come to any sort of conclusions on how to actually fix whatever is troubling me, there’s no crazy schemes that come out of these moments with myself.  It’s just the simple act of allowing my brain to work through them that really resolves my anxiety towards them.

And this is where my philosophizing starts coming in.  Anxiety is a growing issue in the world today, as well as the resulting issues, such as depression or other mental disorders.  People spend a great deal of time and money trying to get down to the crux of their mental issues, but I sometimes wonder if they aren’t simply struggling with the same dilemma I do, namely, not actually spending the time to talk to themselves a little bit.

Sure, talking to oneself is generally considered yet another mental disorder, but I don’t believe you have to actually talk out loud in order to allow your brain the moment or two to work through whatever’s bouncing around in your head.  I honestly believe you just need to shut things down for a moment and let your brain work on the things that it wants to work on.

We no longer have that down time.  With televisions in our bedrooms, books on our nightstands, cell phones right there to get a little bit of video-game time in, or obsessive checking of the news, or whatever, we don’t even have that time before sleep to allow our brains to rumble through the day.  We simply plow through our days at full speed until we are too purely exhausted to move any further and collapse into a state of a coma so deep that even our dreams aren’t allowed to work through these issues.  Of course, we still somehow manage to burst awake at the sound of a facebook notification, right?

Some of my best thinking now happens when I’m fishing.  If I’m dealing with anything I need to just think through, I take my pole to the woods and find a spot to just sit and think.  I often consider even forgetting the pole and just sitting under the trees alone.

Am I mentally sound now that I’ve discovered my own little home remedy for my anxiety?  Absolutely not.  I sometimes feel that I need to go fishing daily in order to deal with whatever’s going on in that cacophony of noise I call a mind.  But, I feel better.

And, on an even brighter note, it does a bangup job of helping me figure out whatever issues I’m having in moving a story forward.

Fishing, for your health!

 

Have a good one!

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