To those unfamiliar with shooting sports, they might not realize the therapeutic benefits a morning or afternoon at the range can influence. A reduction of stress and anxiety top the list of things you’ll be doing for yourself when you go shooting, but it might not be for the reasons you think.
It’s no secret that shooting sports, whether you are involved with competitive match shooting, informal target shooting, or hunting accuracy can both build mental and physical confidence, as well as self-esteem. Awesome ideas, right? Read on to learn why the respect, control, and responsibility of gun ownership and use might hold the key to getting some of your stress under control.
Shooting responsibly is a tenant of gun ownership, and with over 40% of American households legally possessing and using firearms on a regular basis, it’s obvious that people take this responsibility to heart. Whether shooting competitively, caring for self-defense, or sighting in for hunting season, gun owners take a lot of pride in how they handle, shoot, and apply safe gun practices.
Being comfortable with your gun is part of this process, and therefore visiting the gun range on a regular basis is part of learning how to properly handle, load, and clean a gun. Acquiring and accurately hitting a target while under both physical and mental control is also an important part of this process.
Also, hunting requires responsibility and respect towards your wild game, and a humane, clean shot is incredibly important. This accuracy and the control while under pressure are all part of what can be practiced while on the range, and then applied in various other aspects of your life.
Physical and Mental Benefits of Shooting Sports
Those who hit the gun range on a regular basis already have a pretty good idea of what sort of benefits they are receiving when they visit. Gun owners make this trip a regular habit, but if you are a new gun owner, or aren’t sure if it is for you, there are some great indoor ranges you can take advantage of to help you learn proper technique, get comfortable with your firearm, and even take advantage of rentals and lessons.
All of this will help with the obvious, such as getting familiar with a personal gun, honing accuracy and shooting skills, learning muscle memory, and also keeping your gun in good working order. Plus, these physical skills translate well into support of your mental well-being- allowing you the ability to build confidence and address self-esteem and control.
Shooting sports helps support both mental and physical discipline and self-control. It brings a rush of adrenaline that creates a scenario that you must learn to take advantage of to stay focused and on target, rather than becoming distracted. This control also can be helpful for day-to-day situations that may be stressful or disrupting, and allow you to recognize ways to ignore what will put you off track and keep what task you need to complete in sight.
Adrenaline and Control
As mentioned, adrenaline is definitely raised when you shoot. This is a hormone that sends messages to the liver to help raise glucose levels to stimulate the fight or flight response. This requires you to build mental and physical responses to keep that under control- which is related to the discipline and confidence shooting skills create. It also boosts serotonin levels that makes you feel good- helping to offset feelings of stress and anxiety.
Shooting builds confidence in many different ways. For starters, you need to become familiar with your firearm, understand its working parts, and know what gun and ammo is best for hunting, match competition, or simply a day on the range plinking. New knowledge stimulates brain growth as well as confidence in your own abilities. Check www.projectgunner.com and find more information about ammo for hunting.
Learning something new, even when you are familiar with firearms, provides a challenge that forces you to focus on ignoring distractions, staying aware of your surroundings, multi-tasking in a safe manner, learning to acquire targets, and building mental skills. All of these can easily be applied elsewhere in life, especially during periods of stress and anxiety. Practicing control over your responses and environment is a great way to help support difficult periods.
Many times learning how to do something new physically can create stress and frustration. Shooting skills allows you to truly see how practice and determination can result in success. Learning how to steadily focus on and hold a target, load and unload, as well as take apart and clean your gun stimulates brain activity for sure, but it keeps you moving and working towards being better. This can help strengthen wrist and arms muscles, as well as improve balance and core toughness.
Eye Focus Conditioning
Did you know that eye focus exercises are important to keep your eyes healthy? Many people with corrective lenses do know how often they are focusing through the day, but many others may not. Acquiring a target is a great way to help focus on both near, and far focal points, and work towards an overall healthier physical you. In the long run, this can aid with eye related stressors.
Shooting sports don’t have to be all about winning a match, filling your freezer, or spending a day burning ammo. It helps support your overall health, both mentally and physically, and can go a long way towards allowing you the means to have some self-control and confidence in other areas of your life.