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How Archery Can Make You Mentally Stronger

How Archery Can Make You Mentally Stronger

When you hear mention of the sport of archery, you probably think of someone simply using a bow and arrow to shoot at a target. You may even wonder how this could be fun, let alone good for you. Well, let me shake up your perspective a bit to illuminate how this sport can actually be good for your overall health and mental strength.

Using a bow and arrow dates back to 50,000 BC, but back then it was more of a functional apparatus used for hunting and survival. The longstanding history of what we know today as archery can be seen in Egyptian civilization around 2800 BC, when the bow and arrow was more often used as a defense mechanism to ward off enemies or to protect or conquer territories and lives. In the 16th and 17th centuries, archery became a well-practiced and enjoyable sport in England. Competition among archers rose due to the physical skills and mental focus it required to become very good at hitting the bullseye.

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I can remember first being introduced to archery in high school gym class. While I had no idea of what it took to perform the skills of a professional level archer, I really enjoyed the practice of focusing on a specific target and then using my entire body to position the bow, pull back the arrow, and let it fly. It was challenging and fun. And, I actually became pretty good at it (for a novice)!

It turns out that this skillful sport has many physical and mental benefits. Let me share just a few to ramp up your next “out of your comfort zone” experience. Here a few benefits to be gained from practicing archery:

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1. You will increase your strength.

Archery requires solid positioning (core strength) as well as upper body strength. It involves steady strength and control of your shoulders, chest, arms, and hands.

2. You will gain greater balance and control.

Even with great muscular strength, your brain must work hard to keep your entire body balanced for this sport. Your cerebellum (located at the back of your brain) sends neurotransmitters to the muscles required to hold you steady. Releasing the bowstring in a consistent manner requires smooth control.

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3. You will improve your coordination.

During the entire setup and release of the arrow, your eyes, core, upper body, and hands must be totally in sync with each other.

4. You will develop greater focus and endurance.

While your physical body is positioning itself in the best stance for an optimal target hit, your mind needs to tune out distractions and learn how to optimize its focus. The frontal lobe of your brain does this work. It’s neural network helps you to concentrate and give attention to the entire “aim, pull back, let go” process.

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Just imagine, long ago all of these skills were performed on horseback while relying on the guidance and steadiness of the horse, or in a chariot — a very shaky, moving device. Here is where core strength and leg strength really came into play!

So, whether you choose to just go for a one-time archery experience or decide that this sport could be a part of your regular health/exercise regime, it is worth exploring this beautifully skillful practice. Aside from the many physical benefits, it will help you to develop specific attention and a very focused nature. It will help you to learn how to tune out your cell phone, social media, and the mindless chatter. It can guide you to allow your great brain to work synchronistically, accessing your neural network of balance, control, focus, attention, coordination, and strength. Heck, those are plenty of great benefits from simply shooting a bow and arrow !

Featured photo credit: Jakub T. Jankiewicz via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2019

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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1. Recognize the Signs

If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

Some telltale signs include:

  • You’re always on your phones.
  • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
  • You aren’t together during important events.
  • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
  • You don’t make plans or date nights.
  • You’re not happy.

If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

2. Try New Things Together

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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5. Cook Meals Together

Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

6. Have a Regular Date Night

Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

  • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
  • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
  • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
  • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
  • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
  • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
  • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

Final Thoughts

The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

  • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
  • Lowers divorce rates
  • Improves communication
  • Reduces marital boredom
  • Bonds couples closer
  • Improves friendship
  • Boosts health
  • Reduces stress

These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

Reference

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