5 Surprising Ways Free Fishing Days Can Reduce Stress

While most states offer free fishing days during National Fishing and Boating Week, which takes place annually during first full week of June, don’t forget to check for additional free fishing days that are offered at other times throughout the year. Since fishing provides some fantastic stress-relieving benefits, it's a missed opportunity not to take advantage of the days when fishing licenses aren't required to decompress while on the water.

Many of the stress-relieving benefits of fishing are obvious, but there are a few you may not know about. Read this list of subtle ways that fishing can bring you back to your "happy place."

  1. Ocean or nature sounds, like playing calm music, have a positive effect on the brain and body. These sounds can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol (a hormone that is linked to stress). To learn more about how nature sounds aid in stress-recovery, read some of the articles release from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

  2. Fishing trips can improve relationships with friends and family. Positive relationships with friends and family are important to our overall well-being. A fishing trip with a friend can create a lasting bond and help you put a stressful day in perspective.

  3. If you cook your catch on one of the free fishing days, depending on the species, you may be getting a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. Wild salmon is one good example of a fish that is high in stress-reducing omega-3 fatty acids.

  4. Walking from one fishing spot to another or throwing a cast net from a boat are activities that can help your body produce endorphins. Endorphins are "feel good" hormones that help improve your mood almost instantly. Outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking can give you an endorphin boost.

  5. You can take deep breaths of fresh air while outdoors on free fishing days (or any day) to oxygenate your blood and center your mind. Studies have shown that deep breathing helps to relax and better cope with stressful situations. In fact, if you read some of the deep breathing and relaxation tips from the University of Southern California, you'll notice that quite a few of the guided imagery exercises mention the ocean or water.

Now that you know how free fishing days (or any day on the water) can reduce stress and give you feelings of tranquility, decide who you are going to take with you on the next free fishing day in your state.

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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.