Mental Health and Motorcycles



With mental health becoming an increasingly discussed topic, we all know that keeping our minds healthy is just as important as keeping our bodies healthy. In honour of the recent World Mental Health Day (October 10th), we thought it would be good to share some tips and tricks you can use to keep your mental health in great shape!


Even if you're not aware of it, riding a motorcycle benefits your mental health in several ways. Doing something you love is a great way to improve your mental health. It releases dopamine (the happy hormone) which obviously helps to put you in a great mood. Plus, the focus you have when riding fully engages your mind - kind of like meditation! The combination of these factors is what leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed after a long ride.



But not only this! Studies have shown that riding a motorcycle improves your cognitive function! (Kawashima, 2009)

Not only does riding improve memory and spatial awareness, but it helps to lower the levels of 'bad stress' and changes your mental health for the better.


So really, there's no downside to getting out on your bike!



Whether you have a mental health condition or not, taking care of your mental wellbeing is vital and can benefit you in the long-run. Statistically, people with poor mental health are more likely to experience a physical health problem. But you shouldn't worry, the NHS has some great tips to help keep your mind healthy, including:



  • Stay present - take the time each day to really be aware of yourself. Take note of your thoughts, feelings and environment and just let yourself breathe. A perfect time to do this would be out on a ride. If you find yourself on a route with stunning views (as many do have) then stop in a safe place and take it all in.


  • Reframe negative thoughts - don't let your own mind tell you that you aren't good enough or that there is no point in trying at something because you will only fail. These kinds of unhelpful thoughts can create negative cycles that will likely affect your mental health in the long run. So take a minute to acknowledge the negative thought and then turn it around. Remind yourself that 'If you never fail, you never learn'. As cheesy as it sounds, it does help.


  • Get a good sleep - this is important for everyone because we all know how rubbish we feel after a restless night. Plus, riding or driving while tired isn't the safest, so always make sure you're taking the time to relax before bed so you can rest up for a new day.


  • Socialise - connecting with others is a part of human nature. Over a year of seeing each other from behind computer screens might make this task a little daunting but push out of your comfort zone and plan a meet-up. Visit a motorcycle show or ride out and get to know like-minded people. Or get your riding buddies together and take a trip - it doesn't have to be long but it definitely has to be fun!


For more information on how to keep your mental health in good shape check out the NHS website using the link below!



Here at Ride we understand that with the approaching winter weather you'll be going out riding less, but there are still things you can do to keep your mental health in a good place. If you're a part of a motorcycle club, there might be events you can attend, maybe a Halloween party even! Because who doesn't love Halloween.


You could take the time to tune up your bike, or set yourself a project to restore an old one. Or if you wanted to learn more about mental health you could take an online course.


Anytime Training offers a Mental Health Awareness course that provides an in-depth explanation of common mental health conditions, how to spot the symptoms of them and how to help those who might be struggling. Take a minute to check it out!



It's important to remember that, statistically, 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from mental health issues. So, even if you have never struggled with your mental health, you likely know someone who has and now, you'll be able to help them when they're having a rough time. There are many signs that a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health, including:

  • Becoming distant and quiet.

  • Having mood swings.

  • Seeming overly anxious.


There's not a one-size fits all approach to mental health - different things work for different people, so the things you've learned in this article won't magically 'cure' your friend but they're a great start to helping someone. For example, setting up plans with people so they can socialise. Inviting them out for a walk in the park so they have the opportunity to get some fresh air, check out some nature and stay present. And if they happen to share any negative thoughts about themselves, you can remind them of all the things you like about them and, hopefully, help them reframe those thoughts!


And overall, just be there. Knowing you have a friend that cares can make a world of difference.


If you want to learn even more about how to take care of your mental health, or how to look out for others, check out these resources:



MIND - Mental Health Charity

Website: Home | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems

Infoline: 0300 123 3393

Email: info@mind.org.uk


Mind have some great advice, including tips on everyday living, how to help someone else struggling with their mental health and ways you can get involved with the charity (if mental health is something you feel passionate about).



SAMARITANS

Website: Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen

Helpline: 116 123

Email: jo@samaritans.org


Samaritans are a great charity organisation aiming to be there whenever you need them. Their helpline runs 24/7 all year round and their website has some great information on how to be aware of your mental health and keep it in a good place.

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