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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 July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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