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People Who Were Scouts And Guides Are Mentally Healthier For Their Entire Lives

People Who Were Scouts And Guides Are Mentally Healthier For Their Entire Lives

A new study conducted by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh shows that scouts and guides have an improved mental health later in their lives. Children who take part in such organizations are likely to develop resilience and abilities that help them in difficult times. These qualities include decision making, self-reliance and a desire for learning by themselves, which often encourage being active outdoors.

People who were scouts and guides are less likely prone to mental illness

Scientists also found that on average by the time scouts and guides reached middle age, they were 15 percent less likely to be affected by depression or mental illness compared to others. This effect was even reduced to those people from poorer backgrounds with a high risk of such disorders.

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To conduct this study, the National Child Development Study (NCDS), one of the British best resources for health and social research, analyzed long-run data from a group of people born in England in November 1958. Through periodical interviews of the group, results on how a participant’s health and life developed over a period were recorded.

The striking aspect about NCDS is that it collects lots of information about the life conditions of the participants. For instance, the type of family and home a child grew, their parents’ health, job, education attitude and ambition for their child’s future was taken into account.

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Such details are crucial to ascertain that the results identified corresponded to a real relationship. NCDS also considered the participants’ family background, and the impacts they may have on their health later in life.

The leading researcher, Professor Chris Dibben, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences supported the study by saying “It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended guides or scouts.”

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Therefore, even though this study concentrated on a group born over 50 years ago, it seems that the standards of the groups remain unchanged. Also, similar benefits could be drawn from membership for children these days.  Given the increasing levels of poor mental health and stress in younger people, it would be helpful for parents or guardians to encourage participation of these youth programs.

The effect is more significant for children from less well-off families

Since scouting and guiding involve children from various social backgrounds, it is wise to conclude that good mental health should not only be attributed to better living standards or wealthier children.  Even though people from poorer backgrounds are more likely to experience poor mental health, this situation was offset by participating in the scouting or guiding association. Therefore, it would seem that encouraging involvement in poorer groups is crucial.

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Moreover, research suggests that joining the scouts and guides may help strengthen a person’s likelihoods of accomplishing more in life with better mental health or it may create resilience against everyday stresses in life. So, such people are less likely to suffer from stresses or mental issues, a reason to be proud of if you had been a scout and guide before.

Finally, mental health complications in the middle-aged people are increasingly common, and cost people and society a lot of impact in both emotional and financial terms. Also, the health gaps between poorer and rich people remain a significant problem. Scouts and guides activities are not expensive, and they are available worldwide. Possibly they could contribute to a successful policy response to people with mental problems or stress.

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Alex Johnson

Professional Writer and Blogger

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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