Adventure and Mental Health


Participating in Adventure activities such as hiking, mountaineering, biking etc are not merely about having a good time but these are also a great tool for personal development, particularly brain functioning.

Dr Ashok Kumar Jaryal is an Assistant Professor at Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS (Delhi) and is also an avid biker he says that outdoor activities particularly the long duration ones like trip to secluded places are helpful in transforming people in a positive manner.

“These activities help people in gaining patience, become calmer besides learning several new skills; my trips as a biker have taught me how to change tires, patch tires, clean the spark plug so on and so forth”.

Adventurous activities he says could improve people’s cognitive performance and develop in them the ability to plan “When you go on a road trip you have to plan to the minutest details even for things that we take for granted in our day to day life, once people get into this habit of planning by way of these activities they are likely to start using this ability even in their day to day lives”.

Dr Jaryal explains that for surviving in the wilderness co operation was necessary hence people are forced to forge friendships learning social skills in the process.

Dr Sidharth Sarkar who is an Assistant Professor at Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS (Delhi) points out that adventure activities helps boost a person’s self confidence and self esteem levels.

“These activities involve a certain degree of risk and are challenging, when people are engaged in surmounting these risks their confidence levels gets a boost.”

Adventurous outdoor activities he said were something novel to people completely different from their daily lives in such novel context people gain self awareness as they become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

Dr Sarkar explains that adventure therapy is being used as a part of psychotherapy nowadays. “This therapy uses outdoor activities involving a degree of risk, these include physical and emotional challenges and are done in a team. Adventure therapy is particularly useful in cases of delinquency, emotional problems, eating disorders and substance abuse.”

Akhil Bakshi is a documentary film maker and Vice President of Indian Mountaineering Federation he feels that indulging in adventurous activities instills in people a spirit of self reliance and independence. He says that facing adversity through these activities sharpens one’s ability to take decisions. Bakshi says that activities like trekking were particularly helpful in developing perseverance.

Bakshi explained how private companies are utilizing the scope of adventure activities for enhancing employee productivity and happiness “Many companies realize the importance of adventure in improving employee productivity, team bonding and morale hence they are spending a lot of money in sending their employees on such trips TATA steel has a fully dedicated adventure cell”.

Hiking, an adventure for mental health

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